A

Century's Progress in

Astronomy

A

Century's Progress
IN

Astronomy

BY

HECTOR MACPHERSON,
',

JUN.
',

MEMBER OF THE SOCIETfi ASTRONOMIQUE DE FRANCE MEMBER OF THE SOCIETE BEI.GE D'ASTRONOMIE AUTHOR OF 'ASTRONOMERS OF TO-DAY'

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MCMVI

All Rights reserved

PKEFACE.

present volume originated in a desire to present, in small compass, a record of the marprogress in astronomy during the past hundred years. Indebtedness should be acknowvellous

THE

ledged to the valuable works of Professor

New-

comb, Professor Schiaparelli, Professor Lowell, Professor Young, Sir Robert Ball, Mr Gore, M. Flammarion, and Miss Clerke, who, as the

modern astronomy, occupies a place at once authoritative and unique. Portions of Chapters II. and XII. have already
historian of

appeared in the form of an article on the Construction of the Heavens, contributed by the writer to the American periodical, 'Popular
'

Astronomy.
BALERNO, MID-LOTHIAN,
October 1906.

284153

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

I.

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.
PAOE

Influence of Herschel's

Birth and early years Emigration to England Caroline Herschel Discovery of Uranus King's Astronomer Latter years and death Death of Caroline Herschel
characteristics

work

His

1

CHAPTER

II.

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
Solar researches

lites

Uranian satelMotion of the Solar System Discovery of binary stars Clusters and nebulae Nebulous stars The Nebular Hypothesis Star-gauging The discJupiter

Study of Venus Of Mars Saturn Discovery of satellites

The Asteroids

Cometary researches

theory

Subordinate clusters

Abandonment

of the disc-

Second method of star -gauging theory Herschel's work

Estimate of
15

CHAPTER
THE SUN.

III.

Schwabe and the sun-spot period Researches of Wolf, Observations of Carrington Lamont, Sabine, Gautier

Vlll

CONTENTS.
Career and work of Fraunhofer

and Sporer

Spectrum

analysis Work of Kirchhoff Solar eclipse work Solar prominences Janssen and Lockyer Huggins

The
and
re-

Zollner

Work

of

Young

The

Italian

spectroscopists,

Secchi, Eespighi, Tacchini

Career of Tacchini

The

versing layer tion of the Sun

Maunder Sun Summary

Doppler's principle RotaWork of Dune"r Janssen's solar atlas and magnetism Solar theories Distance of the
.

The Corona

.

.

.

.

.43

CHAPTEE
THE MOON.
Life

IV.

and work

of

Schroter

Of Madler

Of

Schmidt-

Changes on the Lunar atmosphere

Selenography in England Lunar photography Work of W. H. Pickering The new Selenography The Moon's heat Motion of the Moon Acceleration of the Moon's mean

Moon

motion

Work

of Laplace,

Adams, Delaunay

.

.

65

CHAPTER

V.

THE INNER PLANETS.

The problem

of

Vulcan

Schiaparelli, his life Spectrum of Mercury

Mercury and work

Work of Schroter Work of Lowell
:

Venus Rotation period work Di Vico, Schiaparelli, Tacchini, Lowell Atmosphere and surface of Venus The Earth variation Mars Rotation of Mars Surface Discovery of latitude of canals Work of Schiaparelli and Lowell Interpretation of the canals The theory of intelligent life Spectrum Satellites The Asteroids Bode's law Work of Mars of Piazzi and Olbers Application of photography by Wolf
of

Schroter,

:

Discovery of Eros

.

.

.

.

.

.80

CONTENTS.

IX

CHAPTEE

VI.

THE OUTER PLANETS.
Physical condition of Jupiter The red spot Satellites

Work

of Zollner

and Proctor
:

Discovery of fifth satellite Sixth and seventh satellites Bond, Eings of Saturn Maxwell, Keeler Struve's theory Globe of Saturn New satellites Uranus and its satellites Discovery of Neptune Adams and Le Verrier Satellite Trans

Neptunian planets

......
VII.
COMETS.

103

CHAPTEE

Life and

work
1861 hine

work of Olbers His repulsion theory Life and Encke His comet Biela's comet Faye's comet Eeturn of Halley's comet Donati's comet Comet of
of

Spectroscopic study of comets Theory of BredikSpectra of comets Comets of 1880 and 1882 The

capture theory

Cometary photography

.

.

.123

CHAPTEE
METEORS.
Meteoric shower of 1833

VIII.

Work of Olmsted Work of Erman Adams and the Of H. A. Newton meteoric orbit Shower of 1866 Connection of comets and meteors Work of Schiaparelli Shower of meteors in 1872 'Le Stelle Cadenti' Meteoric observation A. S. Work of Denning Stationary radiants Herschel .138 Bolides and aerolites Origin of aerolites
and Kirkwood
.

.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTEK
THE STARS.
Distance of the stars

IX.

Life and work of Bessel Studies of Struve Life and work of Henderson Work of Peters, Otto Struve, Brunnow, and Ball Measures of Gill Parallax of first-magnitude stars Relative and absolute
parallax
of

Work

of

Kapteyn

Application of photography
'

Work Work of Gould The Cape Photographic Work of Gill and Kapteyn InternaDurchmusterung Work of Peck Proper tional chart of the heavens
Star- catalogues

Argelander's 'Durchmusterung'

Schonfeld

'

motions of the stars

Star-drift

Discoveries of Proctor
of

Work Radial motion and Flammarion Vogel, and Campbell Solar motion
.

Huggins,
.

.150

CHAPTER

X.

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.

Work

of Fraunhofer and Donati Life and work of Secchi Life and work of Huggins His types of spectra Photography of spectra Life and work of Vogel His Work of Duner Of Pickering classification of spectra

photometry
stars

Stellar Analysis of spectra Spectroscopic catalogues Life and work of E. C. Pickering Variable

Work of

Goodricke

Schonfeld
discoveries

Studies of

Duner

Of Argelander, Schmidt, Heis, Of Gore Photographic
:

Classification

ation

Explanation

of

Algol variables other variables

their explanr\

Temporary stars Of 1848 Of 1866 Of 1892 Photographic discoveries

Of 1876

Argus Of 1885
.

Nova

Persei, 1901

New

star of 1903

Theories of temporary stars

.169

CONTENTS.

XI

CHAPTER XL
STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULAE.
Life and

work

of

of orbits

Work

John Herschel Binary stars Computation of Wilhelm Struve Of Otto Struve Of
and Procyon

Burnham

Satellites of Sirius

Astronomy

of the invisible

scopic binaries Nature clusters

Work of Pickering and Vogel SpectroWork of Be*lopolsky and Campbell Starof

nebulae

Spectroscopic
.

work
.

of

Huggins
of

Nebular photography Eoberts, Barnard, Wolf Of Keeler

Of Copeland

Work

.197

CHAPTER
UNIVERSE.

XII.

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE

Work

of

John Herschel

Extinction of light
of nebulae

Work

Researches of Wilhelm Struve Madler's " central sun " Distribution of Proctor Aggregation of stars on the

Work of Gore and Schiaparelli Studies of Galaxy Gould Researches of Kapteyn Of Newcomb Is the Universe limited 1 Newcomb's argument Observations of
Celoria

Researches of Seeliger
. .

External Universes
.
.

Gore's speculations

.

.214

CHAPTER

XIII.

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.
Helmholtz and solar conLaplace's nebular hypothesis Theories of solar heat traction Objections to LaFaye's hypothesis Ball's exposition The place's theory meteoritic theory of Proctor Its extension by Lockyer Evolution of the stars Vogel's order of evolution Tidal
friction stars
:

work

of

Darwin

See's explanation of

double
227

Future of the Universe

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN
ASTRONOMY,

CHAPTER

I.

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.

IN astronomy, as in other sciences, the past hundred years has been a period of unparalleled

New methods have been devised, progress. fresh discoveries have been made, new theories
have been propounded the field of work has In fact, the science of widened enormously.
;

the heavens has become not only boundless in
its

possibilities,

but more

awe-inspiring

and

marvellous.

due

To whom in the main is this great advance To the great pioneer of what may be ? William Herschel. called modern astronomy Not only did Herschel reconstruct the science
and widen
its

bounds, but his powerful genius

2

\

'A.

.'CBKOTRY'S

PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
century reobserver he has

directed the
search.

course of nineteenth

As an

astronomical

In the breadth of his never been surpassed. and views he was equalled only by Newton indeed he excelled Newton in his unwearied
;

and his sweeping conceptions of the Universe. To quote his own remark to the
observations
" looked farther into space poet Campbell, he than ever human being did before him." Herschel studied astronomy in all its aspects.

the branches of modern astronomy he was a pioneer. He observed the Sun, Moon, and planets,

In

all

devoting special attention to Mars and Saturn. He doubled the diameter of the Solar System

He discovered by the discovery of Uranus. He was several satellites and studied comets.
pre-eminently the founder of sidereal astronomy. He discovered binary stars, thus tracing the law of gravitation in the distant star -depths; while
to

due the credit of the discovery of the motion of the Solar System. He founded the
is

him

study of star-clusters and nebulae, propounded the nebular hypothesis, and devised two methods
of star -gauging. Above all, he was the first to attempt the solution of one of the noblest

problems ever attacked by man the structure In fact, the latter problem of the Universe. was the end and aim of his observations. As

HEKSCHEL THE PIONEER.

3

Miss Clerke remarks, "The magnificence of the idea, which was rooted in his mind from the

him apart from and above all preMost of the departments ceding observers." of modern astronomy find a meeting -place in
start, places

Herschel, as the branches run to the root of

the

tree.

He

point of view. examine the work of this great man, it to note a few of his characteristics.
characteristics,

discussed astronomy from every Before, however, proceeding to
is

well

These
us

once

understood,

give

the

key to

his

researches.

Before

we can master

Herschel the astronomer
Herschel the man.

we must understand

Notwithstanding the fact that Herschel spent most of his life in England, and that he is included in the
Dictionary of National Biography/ he was pre-eminently a German. Like most
'

Germans

his

obscure, and
in English,

style of writing was somewhat this was emphasised when he wrote
his imperfect command of he written in German as

owing to

the language. Had well as in English, he would probably have been better understood in his native country, where
erroneous views of his theories were long entertained.

Even so distinguished an astronomer as Wilhelm Struve, when translating Herschers papers into German, made a mistake when

4

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

translating a certain passage, which leaves the erroneous impression that Herschel believed the

Universe to be

infinite

a mistake which would

not have arisen had he written in German.

The student of Herschel should

also be careful

in quoting the views of the great astronomer. Had Herschel at the close of his life written

a volume containing his final views on the construction of the heavens, this would not have

been necessary but Herschel did not write such a volume. His researches were embodied in a
;

papers communicated to the Royal As. he observed Society from 1780 to 1818. the heavens his opinions progressed, so that
series

of

a statement of his views at any given time was by no means a statement of his final opinions. The late R. A. Proctor, who was the first great

exponent of Herschel in England, has well said " It seems to have been supposed that his papers
:

could be treated as

we might
'

treat such a

work
'

as Sir J. Herschel's

Outlines of Astronomy

;

that extracts might be

made from any
to

part of

any paper which the

without
paper

reference

chanced

to

position occupy in the

the

entire series."

Herschel, like the true student of nature, held
theories very lightly. roads to the truth.

They were

to

him but
scientists,

Unlike many

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.

5

he did not interpret observations by hypothesis he framed his theories to fit his observations. If
:

he found that a certain theory did not agree with what he actually saw in the heavens, he

abandoned
fear of
'

it

:

he did not hesitate to change
"

his views as his investigations proceeded.
"

No

committing

himself,'
*

in her admirable

work on

The Herschels/

says Miss Clerke " de-

terred

him from imparting the thoughts that

accompanied his multitudinous observations. felt committed to nothing but truth/'

He

In the mind of Herschel imagination and observation were marvellously blended. He was a
philosophical astronomer. Although his imagination was a very vivid one he did not allow his

away with him, as Kepler someon the other hand, he did not, like Flamsteed, refrain from speculating altogether. "We ought," he wrote in 1785, "to avoid two
times did
:

fancies to run

If we indulge a fanciful imopposite extremes. and build worlds of our own, we must agination,

not wonder at our going wide from the path of truth and nature. On the other hand, if

we add

observation to observation, without at-

tempting to draw not only certain conclusions but also conjectural views from them, we offend
against the very end for which only observations ought to be made."

6

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
These characteristics

IN ASTRONOMY.

the lightness with which
are the secrets

he held his theories, his vivid imagination, and
his philosophical

reasoning

of

Herschel's
all

success

his

ideas

as an astronomer. Nearly and speculations have been con"
said,

firmed.
feel

As Arago has

We

cannot but

a deep reverence for that powerful genius that has scarcely ever erred." Herschel, like all other great students of Nature, was deeply
religious.

He

could not observe the heavens

without feeling awed at the marvels which his In his own words, "It is telescopes revealed. surely a very laudable thing to receive instruction from the Great

Workmaster

of Nature."

Wilhelm Herschel, born in Hanover on November 15, 1738, was the fourth child of Isaac Herschel, an oboist in the band of the
Friedrich

Hanoverian Guard. Isaac Herschel, a native of Dresden, was an accomplished musician, and all his children, ten in number, inherited his
talent.

two

these ten, six survived, and only became famous. These were William, the

Of

great astronomer, and his sister Caroline (born on March 16, 1750), who became a student of

the heavens only second to her brother. At the garrison school in Hanover, where the Herschels were educated, William Herschel

showed intense love and aptitude

for learning,

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.

7

and was more diligent and persevering than his In brother Jacob, his senior by four years. 1753 he became oboist in the band of the
Hanoverian

Guard

in

which

his

father

was

now bandmaster.
sister relates that

In her valuable memoirs, his

her father was very interested in astronomy, and that he taught his children the names of the constellations. William became

devoted to the science, and constructed a small celestial globe on which equator and ecliptic

But his studies were much were engraved. hampered. His mother had a great dislike to
learning
tions,
:

she had

no sympathy with

aspira-

and

tried to prevent her children

becom-

Above all, the Hanoverian ing well educated. Guard was ordered to England in 1755, when a French invasion was feared, and to that
country

Herschel

proceeded,

along

with

his

father and brother.

Returning to Germany in 1756, the Hanoverian
in

Guard was employed the following year the Seven Years' War. Hanover was invaded
conscription being the rule,

by the French, and,

the musicians were not exempted from service. Under the command of the Duke of Cumber-

land the Guard

suffered

a terrible

defeat

at

Hastenbeck.
after

William Herschel spent the night the battle in a ditch, and decided that

8

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

soldiering

would not

be

his

profession.

He

deserted, and, with the consent of his parents, he sailed for England. After his arrival at

Dover, he wandered through the country in At length, in search of musical employment.

was appointed to train the band of the Durham Militia, and four years later paid a secret visit to Hanover, where he was welcomed by his father, whose health was now failing, and by his sister Caroline. In the following year he was promoted to the post of organist at Halifax, and in 1766 he removed to Bath as
1760, he
oboist in Linley's Orchestra. Finally, in 1767, he became organist in the new Octagon Chapel

at Bath.
old,

Herschel was
"

and known as
:

now twenty-nine years a famous musician. As Miss

The Octagon Chapel soon became a centre of fashionable attraction, and he soon found himself lifted on the wave of public favour. Pupils of high rank thronged to him, and his lessons often mounted to thirtyClerke remarks
five a- week."

In the year of his appointment his father died, aged sixty, after a life of trouble and hardship.

His death was a great blow to his daughter Caroline, whom he had educated when her

mother was from home.

Caroline Herschel

was

naturally possessed of musical ability, but her

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.

9

mother and elder brother had determined that
she should be a housemaid,

a determination

which William, who was devotedly attached to his sister, opposed. Finally, in 1772, he visited

England with But for her to act as his housekeeper. unwearied devotion it is doubtful whether William Herschel would have become the great
Hanover, and took his
sister to

him

astronomer.

About the time of his appointment in Bath Herschel commenced the study of languages and mathematics, reading Maclaurin's Fluxions and
'
'

The perusal of the Astronomy.' latter volume revived his love for astronomy. After fourteen or sixteen hours' teaching he
'

Ferguson's

would

bedroom and read of the wonders of the heavens. His interest increased as he proceeded, until, in his own words, "I
retire to his

resolved
see with

to

take

my own

nothing upon trust, but to eyes all that other men had

seen before me."
reflector.

Accordingly he hired a small Inquiring the price of a larger instruit

ment, he found

to be quite
his sister

Then

in 1772,

when

beyond his means. came to keep his

house for him, he resolved to make his own First he tried the fitting of lenses telescope.
pasteboard tubes, but this being a total failure, he bought the apparatus of a Quaker
into

10

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
who had

IN ASTRONOMY.

optician

constructed, or attempted to

In June 1773, construct, reflecting telescopes. assisted by his sister and by his brother Alexander, then in Bath, he
first

commenced work.
five inches in

His
;

speculum mirror was
it

diameter

and, while

was

in process of construction,

he

was obliged
hours
at

to hold his
stretch,

hands on
his

it for

sixteen

a

while

sister

supplied
*

and read 'The Arabian Nights/ Don Quixote/ and other tales aloud to him to pass the time. At last, after two hundred failures, he finished a 5-inch reflector, and on March 4, No sooner 1774, he observed the Orion nebula. had Herschel commenced his celestial explorahis food

tions

than he resolved to survey the entire heavens, leaving no spot unvisited.
In 1775

he commenced his review of the

heavens, but finding his telescope inadequate he began the work of telescope -making afresh.

Meanwhile he had much to distract him from astronomy. In 1776 he became director of the
Public Concerts at Bath.

Yet

his enthusiasm

was unbounded
heavens.

he would run to his house between the acts at the theatre to observe the
:

In 1779, when observing the

Moon

from the street in front of his house, a gentleman asked permission to see the celestial
wonders,
a
request

which

Herschel

granted.

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.

11

The gentleman, Dr Watson of Bath, introduced Herschel to the Literary Society, and we find him in 1780 contributing two papers to the Royal Society on Mira Ceti and the Moon. In the same year he commenced his second review of the heavens, and during its progress he made his first great discovery. On March 13, 1781,
while surveying the constellation Gemini, he discovered a faint object distinguished by a
disc,

which he concluded to be a

tailless

comet,

but which was soon shown to be a new planet beyond the orbit of Saturn. This was the first

made within the memory of man. King George III. summoned Herschel to London, and gave him a pension of 200 a-year,
planetary discovery

with the

him

of King's Astronomer, pardoning also for his desertion from the army more
title

than twenty years previously.
"

Herschel then

named the new planet the Georgium Sidus," a title now abandoned and replaced by Uranus. William and Caroline Herschel now moved to
Datchet, near Windsor, in 1785 to Clay Hall, and finally, in 1786, to Slough, "the spot of
all

the world," said Arago, " where the greatest number of discoveries have been made." Here

Herschel and his sister worked for nearly forty He communicated to the Royal Society years.

paper after paper on astronomy

in all its aspects.

12

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
also continued the

IN ASTRONOMY.

He

work of telescope-making,

and constructed, in 1789, his 40-foot reflector, In 1787 his sister the wonder of the age. was appointed his assistant, and together the Herschels worked from dusk to dawn. Caroline Herschel herself detected eight comets and numerous nebulae. She relates in her memoirs that on one occasion, while she was acting as But such assistant, the ink froze in her pen.
inconveniences mattered not to the Herschels.

As Miss Clerke has

remarked, Every serene dark night was to him a precious opporThe tunity, availed of to the last minute.

well

"

thermometer

might
mirrors

descend

below
;

zero,

ink

but, promight crack vided the stars shone, he and his sister worked on from dusk to dawn. On one occasion he is said to have worked without intermission

might

freeze,

.

.

.

at the telescope and the desk for seventy-two hours."

Honours were showered on Herschel. He was knighted in 1816, and became President of the
Royal Astronomical
Society
in

1820,

besides

But honours receiving several honorary degrees. in no way elated him. Advancing years in no way affected his wonderful mind. But his duties
as King's Astronomer necessitated his acting as " showman of the heavens " on the visits of

HERSCHEL THE PIONEER.
royalties to

13

Windsor, often after a whole day's work, when rest was absolutely necessary. This tremendous strain, which reflects little credit on
the Court, proved too much for the old man. His health began to give way, although his

mind was

as vigorous as ever.

Herschel contributed his last

paper to the
later

Royal Society
sent a
list

in

1818,

and three years

of double stars to the

new

Astro-

nomical Society.

He made

his last observation
left

on June

1,

1821.

His strength had now
it,

him, and to this he could not reconcile himself.

As Miss Clerke puts
were

"All

his old instincts

still alive, only the bodily power to carry out their behests was gone. An unparalleled

career of achievement left

him
.

unsatisfied with

what he had done.
were at
last

.

.

His strong nerves
After
a

shattered."

prolonged

period of failing health he died at Slough, at the age of eighty-three, on August 25, 1822.

On September

7 he

was buried

in the church-

yard of St Laurence at Upton. On his tomb" stone are engraved the words Ccelorum perrupit claustra"

he broke through the barriers of
terrible
live

the skies.

The death of her brother was a
to Caroline Herschel.

blow
only

Expecting to
to

a

twelvemonth, she returned

Hanover to

14 the

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
of her
brother,

home
cared

Dietrich

Herschel.

But she

lived twenty-five years

among people

She was John Herschel's continuation She compiled a catalogue of his father's work. of all the clusters and nebulao observed by her brother, for which she received the gold medal of the Astronomical Society, and she was created an honorary member. In 1846 she received from the King of Prussia the gold medal of science. But no honours made her in any way elated. She always held that whoever said much of
nothing for astronomy.
Sir

who

delighted at

her said too

little

of her brother.

After a pro-

longed decline of health, she died on January 9, 1848, aged ninety -seven years, and was buried
beside

churchyard of the Gartengemeinde at Hanover, leaving behind her
father
in

her

the

a noble example of self-sacrifice and devotion.

CHAPTER

II.

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.

ONE
stars

result of Herschel's discoveries

and nebulae
planets,

is

that his studies

among the of the Sun

and
the

with the exception of the discovery of Uranus, have been completely thrown into
shade.

Nevertheless,

his

and

planetary
for

astronomy

work in solar alone would have

position in astronomy gained than his contemporaries. The planets, satellites, and comets were all attentively studied by the

him a higher

indeed, the scientific invesgreat astronomer tigation of the surfaces of Mars and Saturn
;

began with Herschel. " His attention to the Sun," Miss Clerke truly " remarks, might have been exclusive, so diligent

was

his scrutiny of its shining surface."

Sun-

spots were specially investigated by Herschel, who closely studied their peculiarities, regarding

them

He

depressions in the solar atmosphere. also paid much attention to the faculse, but
as

16

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

could not observe them to the north and south
of the Sun, thus proving their connection with the spots which are confined to the regions " north and south of the equator. There is all over the Sun a great unevenness," said Herschel,

"which has the appearance of a mixture of small points of an unequal light but they are a roughness of high and low parts." evidently
;

Herschel's solar observations were very valuable, and did much for our knowledge of the

orb of day. His theory of the Sun's constitua development of the hypothesis put tion forward by Alexander Wilson (1714-1786), Professor of

Astronomy

in

Glasgow

very

far

from the truth.

was, however, This was almost the

only instance in which Herschel was mistaken. He regarded the Sun as a cool, dark globe,
eminent, large, and lucid planet, evidently the first, or, in strictness of speaking, the only primary one of our system." In his
"

a

very

opinion an extensive atmosphere surrounded the Sun, the upper stratum forming what Schroter

named the "photosphere."
depth,
heat.
existed,

atmosphere, estimated as two or three thousand miles in

This

was regarded as giving out light and Below this shining atmosphere there
Herschel
the
believed,

protecting

globe

of

a region of clouds the Sun from the

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
glowing
atmosphere,

17

and

reflecting

much

of

the light intercepted by them. The spots were believed to be openings in these atmospheres, caused by the action of winds, the umbra or

dark portion of the spot thus representing the globe of the Sun, which Herschel believed to
be
"

richly stored with inhabitants."
its

This theory

held
true,

ground

for

many
Sun
to

years.

Newton,

it

is

believed the

be gaseous, but he

propounded no hypothesis of its constitution. Herschel's theory, on the other hand, was
fully

was
1860,

It developed, plausible, and attractive. held by eminent men of science until

when the

revelations of the spectroscope

showed it to be quite untenable. The theory was supported for many years by Sir John Herschel, who, however, abandoned it in 1864.
Herschel

made

several

attempts

to

ascertain

state

whether any connection existed between the of the Sun and the condition of the In 1801 he was inclined to believe Earth.
that
"

some

temporary defect of vegetation

"

resulted from the absence of sun-spots, which, he thought, "may lead us to expect a copious emission of heat, and, therefore, mild seasons."

Herschel

believed,

in

fact,

that

food

became

dear at the times of spot-minima. It may be remarked that Herschel never noted the spotis

18

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

period of eleven years, the discovery of which was afterwards made by Schwabe.

Herschel closely scrutinised the surfaces of the planets. Mercury alone was neglected by him. From 1777 to 1793 he observed Venus,

with the object of determining period, but he was unable to

the

rotation

any on the surface of the planet. He markings did not place reliance on Schroter's value of
the rotation period (about twenty-three hours). Meanwhile, Schroter announced the existence

observe

on Venus of mountains which rose to
six

five

or

As to height of Chimborazo. " I may venture to say these, said Herschel, that no eye which is not considerably better
times

the

than mine, or assisted by much better instruments, will ever get a sight of them." Herschel
demonstrated
the
existence

of

an

extensive

atmosphere round Venus. " The analogy between Mars and the Earth," Herschel wrote in 1783, "is perhaps by far the
In 1777 greatest in the whole Solar System." he began, in his house at Bath, a series of
observations on the red planet, which yielded results of the utmost importance. Fixing his
attention on the white spots at the north and south poles, discovered by Maraldi, nephew of
Cassini,

he soon ascertained the fact that they

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.

19

waxed and waned

in size, the north polar cap

shrinking during the

summer

of the northern

hemisphere, increasing in winter,
in the southern hemisphere.

and

vice versa

He

caps as masses of snow and ice

regarded the deposited from

"a

considerable,

though moderate, atmosphere,"

now generally accepted. Herschel gave an immense impetus to the study of Mars. He carefully examined the planet's surface, and the
a theory

dark markings were regarded by him as oceans.

During
planets,

Herschel's

lifetime

the

four

small

Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, were discovered by Piazzi, Olbers, and Harding. The great astronomer was much interested in these

small worlds.

He commenced

a search through

the Zodiacal constellations for
failed.

new

planets, but

of opinion that many minor planets would be discovered. Accepting Gibers' theory of the disruption of a primitive planet,

He was

Herschel calculated that Mercury might be broken up into 35,000 globes equal to Pallas. Meanwhile Herschel named the four new planets

He "Asteroids," owing to their minute size. estimated the diameter of Ceres at 162 miles
and Pallas at 147 miles, but Professor Barnard's measures have shown them to be larger.
discovery of the Asteroids, Herschel showed a very fine spirit.

In

connection

with

the

20

A
c

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
'

The Edinburgh Review Brougham declared " that Herschel had devised the word asteroid," so that the discoveries of Piazzi and Olbers
In

might be kept on a lower
discovery of

level

than his own

Uranus.

Many

scientists

would

have been much offended at
insult,

this contemptible

but Herschel merely remarked that he
illiberal

had incurred "the
"

criticism

of 'The

Edinburgh Review/ and that the discovery of the Asteroids " added more to the ornament of
our system than the discovery of another planet could have done."

In Herschel's time astronomers were acquainted with three of the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn,

and Uranus,

of which were closely studied by the great astronomer. The belts of Jupiter were supposed by him to be analogous to the " " trade-winds in the atmosphere of the Earth
all
;

while the drifting -spots on Jupiter's disc and

movements were carefully noted. His observations on the four satellites of Jupiter led him to believe that, like our Moon, they
their irregular

rotated on their axes in a period equal to that of their revolution round their primary an
opinion shared by Laplace, and by astronomers.

many modern

Herschel's researches regarding Saturn were, however, much more important than those on

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVEBER.
Jupiter.

21

The globe of the
satellites,

planet,

and

the

were favourite

the rings objects of

In 1794 he perstudy at Bath and Slough. ceived a spot on the surface of Saturn, and

made the
the
minutes,
omers.
scrutiny.

first

determination of the rotation of
10

planet,

which he fixed as

hours

16

a result confirmed by modern astronThe rings were subjected to the closest

Herschel believed them to be
also considered "

solid,

and he

them

to revolve round

Saturn in about 10 hours.
observed the famous
it

It appears that

he

dusky

ring," but supposed

to be a belt
also

on the surface of the planet.

He

studied Cassini's division in the ring,

ascertaining its reality.

completing his famous 40 -foot reflector, Herschel, on August 28, 1789, turned it on

On

Saturn and
planet,

its five

known

satellites.

and

in the plane of the ring,

Near the was seen

another object, which Herschel believed to be To settle the question, he a sixth satellite.

watched the planet for several hours to see if the object would partake in the planet's motion.
Finding that it did, he announced it as a new which he found to revolve round satellite,
Saturn in
later,
1

on

About three weeks day 8 hours. September 17, Herschel discovered

another satellite yet closer to Saturn, revolving

22

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

These round the planet in about 22 hours. two satellites were not seen by any astronomers except Herschel and after his death they could
;

not be observed.

His son, however, rediscovered

them.
Japetus, was shown by Herschel to rotate on its axis in a period equal
satellite,

The eighth

to that of its revolution,

and

were confirmed by modern observers.
not," Herschel said,

his observations " I can-

"help reflecting with some pleasure on the discovery of an analogy which shows that a certain uniform plan is carried
on among the secondaries of our Solar System and we may conjecture that probably most of the satellites are governed by the same law."
;

In April 1805 Herschel observed the globe of Saturn to present not a spherical but a "squareshouldered" aspect. It was for long believed
that this was an optical illusion but Proctor and others have shown that it is quite possible for storms in Saturn's atmosphere to cause the
;

planet's apparent distortion in shape. Herschel paid much attention to the planet

Uranus, which he discovered on March 13, 1781. The discovery of Uranus, which was mentioned
in a previous chapter,

was

in a sense the

most

striking of Herschel's achievements.

Uranus was

the

first

planet discovered within the

memory

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
of

23

man

:

besides,

the
Solar

discovery enlarged

the
to
life-

diameter

of

the

1772 millions of miles.
time Herschel referred

System from Throughout
to

886
his

the

planet

as

the

"Georgium
III. for

Sidus," out of gratitude to George

appointing him King's Astronomer; but the astronomers of France and Germany, who,
as
Sir

why

Robert Ball remarks, " saw no reason the King of England should be associated

with Jupiter and Saturn," opposed this term. Lalande called the planet " Herschel," but
Herschel's countrymen, the Germans, named it Uranus, in keeping with the custom of designating the planets from the Greek mythology.

The name of Uranus ultimately
In

prevailed.

January 1787 Herschel discovered two satellites to Uranus, with the aid of his 20foot telescope. These satellites he believed to revolve round Uranus in 8 days and 13 days
respectively,

ing

of

and accordingly he made a drawwhat their positions should be on
10.

February

On

that day he found

them

in

their predicted places.

In 1797 he announced

that the satellites
orbits

revolved

round Uranus in

at

right

angles to the ecliptic, and in

a

In subsequent years retrograde direction. Herschel believed that he had discovered other
four
satellites

to

Uranus, but he was unable

24

A CENTUKY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.
says,

to confirm his belief. "

As Mr Gore

some

of

the

satellites

must, therefore, have been

either optical 'ghosts' or else small fixed stars which happened to be near the planet's path at

the time of observation.

Herschel also suspected

that he could see traces of rings round Uranus like those round Saturn, but his observation

was never confirmed,
observers."

either

by himself or other

observations on the

Although Herschel made several important Moon, and measured the heights of the lunar mountains, he was not
a devoted student of

our

satellite.

Caroline

Herschel remarks in her memoirs that if it had not been for clouds or moonlight, neither her brother nor herself would have got any
sleep
;

adding that Herschel on the moonlight

nights prepared his papers or made visits to London. However, he did make some investiga-

and in 1783 and 1787 believed himself to have witnessed the eruption of three lunar
tions,

afterwards concluded, however, that what he believed to be eruptions was really
volcanoes.

He

the

reflexion

of

earth

-

shine

from the white
Herschel never
that

peaks of the lunar mountains.
discovered

a

comet,

leaving

branch

of

astronomy to his
of these objects.

sister,

who

discovered eight

He

was, however,

much

in-

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
terested in comets,

25

and attentively studied them, " " introducing the terms of head," nucleus," and Herschel anticipated the view that "coma."
comets are not lasting, but are partly disin-

He was tegrated at their perihelion passages. of opinion that they travelled from star to star.
The extent of
their
tails

and appendages he
sketch
of

thought to be a test of their age. We have now completed our
Herschel's

important labours regarding our Solar System. As Miss Clerke says, "A whole
cycle of discoveries

began and ended

successful investigations with him." But through ob-

and

serving the stars he made a further discovery in connection with the Solar System; indeed,

one of the greatest discoveries in the history of astronomy the movement through space of
the Sun, carrying with it planets and comets. "If the proper motion of the stars be admitted," said Herschel,

"who
it

our

Sun?"
of

Of
the

course

can deny that of was plain that the

motion

Sun could only be detected

through the resulting apparent motion of the stars. Thus, if the Sun is moving in a certain
appear to open But the out, while those behind will close up. The as this. problem is by no means so easy
direction, the stars in front will

stars are also in motion,

and, before the solar

26

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

motion can be discovered, the proper motions of the stars themselves very minute have to be

decomposed into two parts, the real motion of the star, and the apparent motion, resulting

To from the movement of the Solar System. any astronomer but Herschel the problem would
Only sixty years had elapsed since Halley had announced the proper motions of the brighter stars which had been hence previously supposed to be immovable
have
been
insoluble.

the

name

of "fixed stars."

Herschel did not

deal with the motions of

few proper accuracy when he attacked the problem in 1783. Making use of the proper motions of seven stars, and
separating the real from the apparent motion, he found that the Solar System was moving towards a point in the constellation Hercules,

many stars. motions were known with

Only a

the "apex" being marked by the star X HerThe rate of the solar motion, Herschel culis.
thought, was "certainly not less than which the Earth has in her annual orbit."
that

This

extraordinary discovery was one of Herschel's " Its directness and apparent greatest works.
artlessness,"

Miss

Clerke

dumb with

wonder."

" strike us remarks, In 1805 Herschel again

attacked the subject, utilising the proper motions His second inquiry, on the of thirty-six stars.

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
"

2*7

whole, confirmed his previous result, the apex but the being again situated in Hercules
;

"

determination of 1783 was probably the more accurate of the two.

Herschel was far in advance of his time re-

The two greatest garding the solar motion. astronomers of the next generation, Bessel and
Sir

by

rejected the results reached But in 1837 ArgelSir William Herschel.

John Herschel,

ander, after a profound mathematical discussion, confirmed Herschel's views, and proved the solar

motion to be a

reality.

Since that date the

problem has been attacked by various methods by Otto Struve, Gauss, Madler, Airy, Dunkin,

Ludwig Struve, Newcomb, Kapteyn, Campbell,
and
others, with the result that the reality of

the solar motion and of the direction fixed by Herschel has been proved beyond a doubt. As
Sir

have exhausted
to

Robert Ball well remarks, mathematicians " but only every refinement,

confirm the truth of that splendid theory which seems to have been one of the flashes
of Herschel's genius."

Herschel and his Work/ Mr James Sime writes: "To Herschel belongs the
In his volume
'

credit not merely of having suspected the revolution of sun around sun in the far-distant realms

of space, but also of actually detecting that this

28

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

was going on among the stars." Throughout his career double stars were favourite objects of observation. The study of double stars was comHerschel while a musician in Bath. menced by Before his day, of course, double stars had been discovered and studied, but it was believed that the proximity of two stars was merely an optical
accident, the brighter star being much nearer to us than the other. Herschel, at first sharing the

general view, observed double stars in the hope of measuring their relative parallaxes assuming
;

one star to be much farther away from the Solar System than another, he attempted to measure
the parallactic displacement of the brighter star " This," relatively to the position of the fainter.

he afterwards wrote, "introduced a new series of observations. I resolved to examine every star in the heavens with the utmost attention,
that I might fix my observations upon those that would best answer my end. I took some pains
to find out

what double
;

stars

had been recorded

by astronomers
was
it

but

my
;

situation permitted
libraries,

me

not to consult extensive

nor,

indeed,

very material

for as I intended to

view

the heavens myself, Nature, that great volume, appeared to me to contain the best catalogue."
Herschel, on January 10, 1782, submitted to the Eoyal Society a catalogue of 269 double

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
stars
:

29

of these he himself discovered 227.

In

December 1784 he forwarded another catalogue,

He soon found that he containing 434 stars. was unable to measure stellar parallax, and the idea dawned on him that the double stars were
physically connected
for

by the law of gravitation, though he made no announcement to that effect
1802, Herschel informed the Royal Society that " casual situations

many

years.

On

July

1,

will not account for the multiplied

phenomena

of double stars.

...

I shall soon

communicate

a series of observations, proving that

many

of

them have already changed

their situation in a

progressive course, denoting a periodical revoluIn 1803 he showed that tion round each other."

many stars were revolving round their centres of gravity, proving them, in his own words, to be "intimately held together by the bond of
mutual attraction."
In other words, Herschel
discovered that the law of gravitation prevailed in the Stellar Universe, as well as in our Solar

System

that the law which

Newton

ascertained

to prevail in the Solar

System extended through-

out the depth of space. Herschel did not merely prove the revolution of the binary stars; he assigned periods to
those which he had particularly studied. He believed the period of Castor to be 342 years;

30

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
;
;

8 Serpentis 375 years y Leonis 1200 years and e Bootis 1681 years. Herschel did not This was compute the orbits mathematically. not done for nearly thirty years, when the calculation of binary star -objects was commenced by Savary, Sir John Herschel, and Encke.

astronomer, Charles Messier (1730-1817), published a list of 103 In the following year Herschel comnebulae.

In

1782

the

French

famous sweeps of the heavens with his large reflectors, and during these he made many remarkable discoveries. In 1786 he pubhis

menced

lished in the

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society a catalogue of a thousand new nebulae and star-clusters, in which he gave the
position of each object with a short description

'

'

appearance, written by Caroline Herschel while her brother actually had the object before

of

its

In 1786 Herschel published a catalogue of another thousand clusters and nebulae, followed in 1802 by a list of 500 making a
his eyes.
;

total of

2500 clusters and nebulae discovered by This alone would have the great astronomer. a great name for William Herschel in gained
this branch of astronomy.

In the space of only twenty years 2500 nebulae and clusters had been
discovered.

The various

nebulae

and

clusters
:

were

divided into eight classes, as follows

the

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
first

31

bright nebulae," the second "faint nebulae/' the third "very faint nebulae," " the fourth planetary nebulae," so named by
class

"

being

Herschel from their resemblance
discs,

very large the sixth "very compressed and rich nebulae," clusters of stars," the seventh "pretty much

the

fifth

class

contained

to "

planetary

compressed clusters of large or small stars," and the eighth " coarsely scattered clusters of
stars."

At

first

Herschel believed

all

nebulae

to be

clusters of stars, the irresolvable nebulae being

supposed to be farther from our system than the resolvable nebulae. As many of the nebulae

which Messier could not resolve had yielded to
Herschel's instruments, Herschel believed that
increase of telescopic power would resolve the hazy spots of light which remained nebulous. In

the paper of 1785, in which Herschel dealt with the construction of the heavens, he stated his
belief that

many

of the nebulae were external
;

galaxies
in
fifteen

universes beyond the Milky Way and he remarked that he had discovered 1786

hundred universes

!

Arago, Mitchel, Nichol, Chambers, and other writers quite misinterpreted Herschel's views on
the nebulae

when they
all

said

that he believed

them

to

be

external

galaxies.

In

1785

32

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
many
;

IN ASTRONOMY.

Herschel believed

to

be connected with

the sidereal system considering that in some " the stars are now drawing parts of the Galaxy

towards various secondary centres, and will in time separate into different clusters." He was

coming to the view that the

star-clusters

were

secondary aggregations within the Galaxy, probHe pointed out that in ably the true theory.
Scorpio, the

bounded by a black chasm, four degrees wide, from which he believed the stars had been drawn in the
cluster Messier 80
is

course of time to form the cluster.
records

His

sister

one night, after a "long, awful silence," he exclaimed on coming on this chasm
that

wahrhaftig ein Loch im Himmel!" (Here, truly, is a hole in the heavens.) Herschel was now gradually giving up his

"Hier

ist

" theory of external galaxies and his disc-theory of the Universe but he still believed even the
;

"

nebulous objects to be irresolvable only through In 1791, however, he immensity of distance. drew attention to a remarkable star in Taurus,

surrounded by a nebulous atmosphere, regarding which he wrote, "View, for instance, the nineteenth cluster of

my

sixth class,

and afterwards

Our judgcast your eye on this cloudy star. ment, I will venture to say, will be that the nebulosity about the star is not of a starry

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
nature.

33

We
is

therefore either have a central
star,

body
is

which

not a

or have a star which
fluid,

involved in a shining

of a nature totally

unknown
that
"

to us."

And

with caution he added

the envelope of a cloudy star is more fit to produce a star by its condensation than to

depend upon the star for its existence." This was written in 1791, five years before
Laplace propounded his nebular theory. Mean" while Herschel, believing that these nebulous
stars

may

serve

as

a

clue

to

unravel

other

mysterious phenomena, found that the theory " " would suit the appearof a shining fluid ance of the irresolvable planetary nebulae and
the great nebula in Orion much better than the extravagant idea of "external universes."

Herschel

now

considered

the Orion nebula to

be much nearer to the Solar System than he
formerly did, and ceased to regard it as external to the Galaxy. For twenty years Herschel patiently observed the nebulae, and it was not
until 1811 that he
thesis

propounded

his nebular hypo-

of the evolution of the

Sun and

stars.

found the gaseous matter in all stages of condensation, from the diffused cloudy nebulae
like that in Orion,

He

through the planetary nebula

and the regular nebula, to the perfect stars, like Sirius and the Sun. Herschel's nebular theory
c

34

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

was a grand conception, and a magnificent attack
on the secrets of nature.
Sir

E/obert

Ball

"

says

:

Not from

abstract

Kant, nor from mathematical speculation suggestion like Laplace, but from accurate and laborious study of the heavens, was the great
like

William Herschel led to the conception of the
nebular theory of evolution." Herschel's nebular theory was wider and less rigorous than that of Laplace. Laplace reached his theory by
reasoning backwards Herschel by observing the nebulae in process of condensation. Consequently, while Laplace's theory has required modification,
;

Herschel's,

from

its

width,

is

universally

ac-

cepted, because there is nothing mathematically The great German did not go rigorous in it. into details like his French contemporary. He

sketched the evolution of the stars in a wider
sense.

The astronomer's " 1500 universes," Miss Clerke " had now logically ceased to exist." remarks, Herschel had gathered much evidence about
nebular distribution which shattered his belief
in external universes, although he still
in 1818 that

thought some galaxies were included among
nebulae.

1784 Herschel out that the clusters and nebulae " are pointed " and some time later arranged to run in strata
the
;

non- gaseous

In

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.

35

he found that the nebulae were aggregated near
the galactic poles
;

in other words,

where nebulae
vice versa.

are numerous, stars are scarce,

and

So rigorously did

this

rule

hold,

that

when

dictating his observations to his sister Caroline,

he would, on noting a paucity of
to

stars,

warn her
of the

" "

A

prepare for nebulae." knowledge of the

construction

heavens has always been the ultimate object of my observations." So Herschel wrote in 1811.
All
his

investigations

were secondary to the

problem which was constantly before his mind the extent and structure of the Universe.

He

aspired to be the Copernicus of the Sidereal

System. Although Bruno, Kepler, Wright, Kant, and Lambert had speculated regarding the construction

of

the

heavens,

they

had not the
ideas.

slightest evidence on

which to base their

stars

There was no science of sidereal astronomy. The were observed only to assist navigation,

and the primary object of star-catalogues was to further knowledge of the motions of the planets.
In Herschel's day,
also,

the distances of the stars
his

had not been measured, and he had to base
views on the distribution of the
therefore,
in
stars.

In 1784,
stars
in

he commenced a survey of the heavens,

order to ascertain the

number of

various parts of the sky.

This method, which

36

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

he named " star -gauging," consisted in counting the

number of

stars in the telescopic field.

His studies Totally he secured 3400 gauges. showed that in the region of the Galaxy the
stars

were much more numerous than near the

Sometimes he saw as many as galactic poles. 588 stars in a telescopic field, at other times He remarked that he had " often only 2.

known more than 50,000
within an hour."

pass before his sight Assuming that the stars were,

on the average, of about the same size, and scattered through space with some approach to
uniformity, Herschel was unable to compute the extent to which his telescope penetrated into

space
finite

;

and,

assuming that the Universe was
his

and that

"

"

gauging- telescope

was

powerful to completely resolve the Milky Way, he was enabled to sketch the shape and extent of the Universe.
sufficiently

Thus Herschel concluded that the Universe
extended
times the
in the direction of the

Galaxy to 850
first

mean

distance of stars of the

In the direction of the galactic magnitude. the thickness was only 155 times the dispoles

Herschel tance of stars of the same magnitude. was thus enabled to sketch the probable form
of the Universe, which he regarded as cloven at one of its extremities, the cleft being represented

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
by the famous gap
in

37

the Milky

Way.

The

Universe was, in fact, supposed to be a cloven disc, and the Milky Way was merely a vastly extended portion of it and not a region of

On this theory the clusters actual clustering. and nebulae were supposed to be galaxies exEven in 1785, howternal to the Universe.
ever, Herschel believed that there
in the

Milky

Way

were regions where the stars were more
"
It

closely clustered than others.

would not

be

difficult,"

he wrote

in

1785,

"to point out
clusters in our

two or three hundred gathering
system."

Strange to say, Herschel's original ideas regarding the Universe were accepted for many
years by astronomical writers. Arago accepted Herschel's original theory, unaware that he had
in reality

abandoned

it,

and he was followed by

a host of French and English writers who did not take the trouble to read each of Herschel's
papers, merely quoting that of 1785, and believing that it represented his final ideas on the
subject.

Even

Sir

John Herschel seems

to have

been unaware that his father gave up the disc The famous German theory of the Universe.
astronomer, Wilhelm Struve, after an exhaustive study of Herschel's papers, was enabled to prove
in

1847 that the theory had been abandoned

38

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
;

IN ASTRONOMY.
late R.

by Herschel
Proctor

and

in

England the

A.

independently demonstrated the same Meanwhile, supposing Herschel had not thing. given up his theory, it would be quite untenable.
After considering the fact that the brighter stars, down to the ninth magnitude, aggregate on the

Milky Way,

Mr Gore

by hypothesis tributed throughout every part of the disc, and as the limiting circles for stars to the eighth and
ninth magnitudes fall well within the thickness of the disc, there is no reason why stars of these

says: "As the stars are supposed to be uniformly dis-

magnitudes should not be quite as numerous in
the direction of the galactic poles as in that of the Milky Way itself. see, therefore, that

We

the disc theory fails to represent the observed facts, and that Struve and Proctor were amply
justified

in

their

opinion

that

the theory

is

wholly untenable, and should be abandoned." The observations made by Herschel himself
a eventually proved fatal to the disc theory hypothesis which he had all along held very
lightly.

His ideas about subordinate clusters

within the Milky Way were soon confirmed, and though in 1799 he still adhered to the disc
theory, he wrote in 1802,

"I am now convinced,

by a long inspection and continued examination of it, that the Milky Way itself consists of stars

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.

39

very differently scattered from those which are This immense starry immediately about us.
aggregation
of which
it is

by no means uniform. The stars is composed are very unequally

scattered"
disc

a conclusion quite opposed to the

was suptheory, where the Milky posed to be merely an extended portion of the Universe.

Way

In 1811 Herschel wrote as follows: "I must
freely confess that

by continuing

my

sweeps of

my opinion of the arrangement of the stars, and their magnitudes, and some other
the heavens,

has undergone a gradual change and, indeed, when the novelty of the subject is considered we cannot be surprised that many
particulars,
;

things

formerly taken

for

prove to be they were generally but incautiously supposed to be. For instance, an equal scattering of the
stars

examination

granted should on different from what

may

be admitted in certain calculations

;

but when
closely

we examine

the Milky

Way,

or the

my
this

compressed catalogues have recorded so

clusters

of stars,

of which
instances,

many

supposed equality of scattering must

be

given up." This was the virtual abandonment of the disc

Six years later Herschel announced theory. that in six cases he had failed to resolve the

40

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

not fathom

Milky Way, stating that his telescopes could This was the abandonment of his it.

namely, that his telescope was sufficiently powerful to penetrate to the limits of the Universe. Yet he still thought
that some of the star-clusters might be external galaxies, although he could not even dogmatically assert our

second assumption

Universe to be limited.

In an

error of translation, Struve left the impression that Herschel believed our Universe to be un-

fathomable or
a most

infinite,

and was obliged

to devise

theory of the extinction of light to account for the fact that the sky did not
artificial
it

shine with the brilliance of the Sun, which

would do were the stars

infinite in

number.

Of

course, Herschel did not actually believe the Universe to be infinite, and, had he lived, he

would probably have shown that all the starclusters which we see are included within the
bounds of our
In
series

Galaxy. 1814 Herschel was "still engaged in a
of observations
for

finite

ascertaining a scale whereby the extent of the Universe, as far as it is possible for us to penetrate into space, may be

fathomed."

In 1817 he described another method

of star-gauging, which Arago and other writers have confused with that which he devised in
1785.

The two methods, however, were quite

HERSCHEL THE DISCOVERER.
distinct

41

system, one of the telescope was used on different regions heavens whereas in the second method, various

from each other.

In the

first

;

telescopes were used on identical regions.
principle

The

was that the

telescopic

power necessary

to resolve groups of stars indicates the distance at which the stars of the groups lie. This,

however, also assumed an equal distribution of stars, and as the late Mr Proctor says, "I
conceive that no
principle
is

question

can exist that the

unsound, and that Herschel would himself have abandoned it had he tested it
earlier in

his observing

career.

...

In ap-

plying it, Sir W. Herschel found regions of the heavens very limited in extent, where the
brighter stars (clustered like the fainter) were easily resolved with low powers, but where his largest telescopes could not resolve the faintest.

These regions, if the principle were true, must be long, spike-shaped star groups, whose length
is

directed exactly towards the astronomer on Earth, an utterly incredible arrangement."

Herschel, at the time of his death, left unsolved the problem of the construction of the heavens. It is still unsolved, and will doubtless

remain so until astronomers know more about
the distances and motions of the stars.
last observation of the

His

Galaxy showed that even

42

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

with his 40-foot reflector he could not fathom
it.

Consequently, as
his

we have mentioned, Struve

regarded the Universe as infinite a theory which has now received its death-blow. Herschel was undoubtedly correct
successors

and

when he

stated his belief in a limited Universe.

Herschel's star-gauges, and those of his son, still remain of immense value to astronomers in

any discussion of the construction of the heavens.
Thus, although they failed to reveal to Herschel the structure of the Universe, they have been
of

much use

to his successors.

Herschel's discus-

sion of the

supreme problem

of his observations

the ultimate object constitutes one of the most

interesting chapters in the history of science, and In the marks a new era in human thought. " One cannot reflect withwords of Miss Clerke
:

out amazement that

the

special

life -task

set

himself by this struggling musician originally Hanoverian Guard a penniless deserter from the

was nothing
'

less

than to
heavens.'

search

out
did
;

the

construction

of the

He

not

but he accomplish it, for that was impossible never relinquished, and, in grappling with it, laid deep and sure the foundations of sidereal
science."

CHAPTER
THE SUN. FOUR

III.

years after the death of Herschel, an apothecary in the little German town of Dessau

procured a small telescope, with which he began The name of this apotheto observe the Sun.
cary was Samuel Heinrich Schwabe (1789-1875). In 1826 he commenced to observe the spots on

the Sun's disc, counting them from day to day, more for self- amusement than from any hope of
discovery for previous astronomers had agreed that no law regulated the number of the sun;

day Schwabe pointed his telescope at the Sun and took his record of the
spots.

Every

clear

spots
until

;

this

he continued
a

for forty-three years,

within

few

years

of

his

death

on

As early as 1843 Schwabe April 11, 1875. hinted that a possible period of ten years regulated the distribution of the spots on the Sun, In but no attention was given to his idea.
1851,

however,

the

result

of his

twenty -six

44
years

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
of observation
'

IN ASTRONOMY.

was published in Humboldt's Cosmos,' and Schwabe was able to show that the spots increased and decreased in a period
of about ten years. Astronomers at once recognised the importance of Schwabe's work, and

1857 he was rewarded by the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society of London.
in

Rudolf Wolf (1813-1892) of the Zurich Observatory now undertook to search through the records of sun-spot observation, from the days
of Galileo and Scheiner, to find traces of the
solar

cycle

discovered

by Schwabe.

He was

successful, and was enabled to correct Schwabe's estimate of the length of the period, fixing it as

on the average 11 '11 years. Additional interest, however, was given to Schwabe's and Wolf's
investigations by which followed.

the

remarkable

discoveries

In

September
Scottish

1851

John

Lamont (1805-1879), a

astronomer,

born at Braemar in Aberdeenshire, but employed as director of the Munich Observatory, after
searching through the magnetic records collected at Gottingen and Munich, discovered that the

magnetic variations indicated a period of 10^Soon after this Sir Edward Sabine years.
(1788-1883), the English physicist, from a discussion of an entirely different set of observations,

independently demonstrated

the same

THE SUN.
thing, proving

45

conclusively that once in about ten years magnetic disturbances reached their and Sabine was not slow height of violence
;

between the magIn the netic period and the sun-spot period. same year (1852) Wolf and Alfred Gautier (1793-1881) independently made the same disto notice the correspondence

covery,

which had

thus

been

made by
amateur

four

separate investigators. In the same year an

English

as-

tronomer, Richard Christopher Carrington (18261875), commenced a series of solar observations

which led to some remarkable discoveries.

From

observations on the spots, Carrington discovered that while the Sun's rotation was performed in

25 days at the equator,
27|-

was protracted to days midway between the equator and the
it

In 1858 Carrington demonstrated the fact that spots are scarce in the vicinity of the
poles.

solar

equator,

but are confined

to

two zones

on either
five

side, becoming scarce again at thirtydegrees north or south of the equator.

Contemporary with Carrington was Friedrich Wilhelm Gustav Sparer (1822-1895), who was born in Berlin in 1822 and died at Giessen,
July
7,

1895.

He commenced

his

solar

ob-

servations about the

same time as Carrington,

and independently discovered the Sun's equatorial

46

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
From

IN ASTRONOMY.
at
his
little

acceleration.

observations

private

observatory at Anclam in Pomerania, continued at the Astrophysical Observatory in Potsdam, Sporer demonstrated a remarkable law

regarding sun-spots. This law is thus described " The disturbance by a well-known astronomer
:

which produces the spots of a given sun-spot period first manifests itself in two belts about
thirty

degrees north

equator.

These belts

and south of the Sun's then draw in toward the

equator, and the sun-spot maximum occurs when their latitude is about sixteen degrees while
;

the disturbance gradually and finally dies out at a latitude of eight or ten degrees. Two or
three years before this disappearance, however, two new zones of disturbance show themselves.

Thus, at the sun-spot minimum there are four well-marked spot-belts, two near the equator,

due to the expiring disturbance, and two in high latitudes, due to the newly beginning outbreak." These remarkable discoveries, which
resulted

from

the

investigations

of

Schwabe,

Carrington, and Sporer, are a brilliant example of what may be done by amateurs in astronomy. At the time when Carrington and Sporer were

pursuing these researches, the spectroscope came into use as an astronomical instrument, and since

1859 solar astronomy has been almost entirely

THE SUN.
spectroscopic.

47
rightly understand

Before

we can

the principles of spectroscopic astronomy, we must go back to the life and work of its founder

Joseph von Fraunhofer.

The son of a poor glazier, Joseph von Fraunhofer was born on March 6, 1787, at Straubing, His father and mother having died in Bavaria. son was quite young, the boy, on when their account of his poverty, was apprenticed to a looking glass manufacturer in Munich named
Weichselberger,

him all some old books, and spent

acted tyrannically, keeping day at hard work. Still the lad borrowed
his nights in study.
in

who

Young Fraunhofer lodged
in

an old tenement

Munich, which on July 21, 1801, collapsed, All were burying in its ruins its occupants.
killed

but

injured,
later.

Fraunhofer, who, though seriously was dug out from the ruins four hours The distressing accident was witnessed

by Prince Maximilian Joseph, Elector of Bavaria. He became interested in Fraunhofer, and preOf this he sented him with a sum of money. made good use. He was already interested in optics, and he bought some books on that subject, as well as

a glass-polishing machine. The to procure his reremainder of the money served

lease

from his tyrannical master, Weichselberger. Fraunhofer became acquainted with prominent

48

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
at

IN ASTRONOMY.

Munich, who provided him with books on optics and mathematics. Meanwhile the
scientists

young optician occupied his time in shaping In 1806 he entered the and finishing lenses. optical department of the Optical and Physical Institute of Munich, and the following year, when only twenty years of age, was appointed
to the chief post in that department. In 1814 he commenced his investigations with the prism, which have made his name famous.

Newton had found
prism, white light
colours,
is

that, in passing

through a

making
as the

dispersed into its primary up the band of coloured light

But he failed spectrum. to recognise the existence of dark lines in the Casually seen in 1802 by William spectrum.
solar

known

Hyde

Wollaston (1786-1828), an English physicist,
first

thoroughly examined by Fraunhofer. Allowing light from the Sun to a prism attached to the telescope, pass through he was amazed to find several dark lines in
the spectrum. By the year 1814 he had detected no less than 300 or 400 of these lines.

these lines were

Fraunhofer named the more prominent lines by the letters of the alphabet, from A in the red
to

H

in the violet.
lines.

the Fraunhofer

They At

are
first

now known as he was much
lines.

perplexed regarding the nature of the dark

THE SUN.

49

they might be an optical effect, depending on the quality of the glass used, and he tried different prisms, but the Then he turned lines were still to be seen.
suspected

He

that

they were visible in reflected sunlight, and he found that He examined the Moon and again they were.
his prism to bright clouds to see if

perceived them, as moonlight
;

merely reflected sunlight and they were also conspicuous in the It was thus proved that spectra of the planets. these lines were characteristic of sunlight, whether
is

direct or reflected.

It was, however, still possible that they might be caused by the passage of the rays of light from the celestial bodies through the

In order to test this theory, Fraunhofer examined the spectra of the brighter
Earth's atmosphere.
stars.

He

found that the lines visible in the

spectrum were not to be seen in the spectra of the stars, thus proving that the lines were not
solar

merely an atmospheric
hofer observed,

effect.

Each

star,

Fraun-

had a different spectrum from and from other stars. These both the Sun spectra were also characterised by numerous
dark
lines,

much

fainter

than those in the solar

spectrum.

Although he ascertained the existence of the dark lines in the Sun's spectrum, Fraunhofer
never really found out what they represented.

50

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

As Miss Giberne
saw

" expresses it, Although he now the lines he could not understand them
:

he could not read what they said. They spoke to him indeed about the Sun, but they spoke to him in a foreign language, the key to which
he did not possess."

However, he expressed the

belief that the pair of lines in the solar spectrum,

which he marked D, coincided with the pair
of bright lines emitted by incandescent sodium. Although he doubtless suspected that the lines conveyed intelligence regarding the elements in

the Sun, he never was able properly to decipher Had he lived, he would probtheir meaning.
ably have

made the great
were
death
cut

investigations

discovery; but these short by his sudden
7,

and untimely death on June
After
the
to

1826.

of Fraunhofer,

very

little

was done
analysis.

forward

the

Investigations

study of spectrum in this branch of

research

however, by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), William Allen Miller (1817-1870), Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), and

were

made,

others.

Two famous men

of science had partly

discovered the secret.

These were Sir George

Stokes (1819-1903), of Cambridge, and Anders Of John Angstrom (1812-1872) of Upsala.

Angstrom's work, published in 1853, it has been said that it would " have obtained a high

THE SUN.

51

celebrity if it had appeared in French, English, or German, instead of Swedish."
It

was not

until

spectrum analysis Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887), and his colleague in the University of Heidelberg, Robert

1859 that the principles of were fully enunciated by

Wilhelm Bunsen (1811-1899). Kirchhoff demonstrated that a luminous solid or liquid gives a
continuous spectrum, and a gaseous substance a spectrum of bright lines. In the words of Miss
Clerke,
to "

the

Substances of every kind are opaque precise rays which they emit at the

to say, they stop the kinds of light or heat which they are then This actually in a condition to radiate.
is
.
. .

same temperature.

That

is fundamental to solar It chemistry. the key to the hieroglyphics of the Fraungives hofer lines. The identical characters which are

principle

written bright in terrestrial spectra are written dark in the unrolled sheaf of sun-rays." Kirch hoff

made
in

several

determinations of the sub-

stances

the

Sun, proving

the

existence of

sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium, nickel, barium, His great map of the solar copper, and zinc.

spectrum was published by the Berlin Academy in 1860, and represented an enormous amount

was succeeded by another map by Angstrom, published in 1868. But both of
of labour.
It

52
these

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
maps have been

IN ASTRONOMY.

recently superseded by the investigations of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer (born 1836), and of the American physicist,

Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901).
land
largely increased our knowledge elements in the solar atmosphere.

Rowof

the

become, by 1868, a recognised instrument of astronomical research, and in that year it was applied during the There famous total eclipse, visible in India.
spectroscope

The

had

were many
observations

eclipse

made
proved

problems, arising from the by the eclipse expeditions

of 1842, 1851, and 1860.

The
the

eclipse of

1851
seen

had

finally

that

red

flames

surrounding the Sun during total eclipses belonged to the Sun, and not to the Moon, as

many

astronomers had believed.

At the

eclipse

of 1860, visible in Spain, the Italian astronomer, Angelo Secchi (1818-1878), and the Englishman,

Rue (1815-1889), secured photographs of the solar prominences. The problem of 1868 was the constitution of these prominences.
la

Warren De

Pierre Jules Cesar Janssen, born in Paris in
1824,

was stationed at Guntoor,

in

India,

to

He succeeded in observing observe the eclipse. the spectrum of the prominences during the
progress of totality, and found it to be one of bright lines, proving the gaseous nature of the

THE SUN.
sun-flames.

53

During the progress of the eclipse, Janssen was specially struck by the brilliancy of the bright lines, and it occurred to him that
the prominence -spectrum could be observed in
daylight, if sufficient dispersive power was used to enfeeble the ordinary continuous specfull

trum.

At
19,

ten o'clock on the following morning,
1868,

August

Janssen applied his spectroscope to the sun, and observed the prominenceAfter a month's observation in India, spectrum.

he sent to the French Academy an account of his success. A short time, however, before his report arrived, the Academy had received a
similar one from Lockyer,

made the same discovery. in 1866, the new method had occurred to him, but his spectroscope was not powerful enough

who had independently Two years previously,
;

and although he ordered a more powerful one at once, it was not until October 16, 1868, that he had the instrument in his hands. Four
days later he observed the prominence-spectrum
in full daylight.

The next advance in the study of the promiJanssen and nences was announced in 1869. Lockyer had shown astronomers how to observe
but the rethe spectrum of the prominences searches of other two famous astronomers enabled
;

observers to see the forms of the prominences.

54

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

These two men were

William Huggins (born

1824) and Johann Carl Friedrich Zollner. The latter astronomer, born in Leipzig in 1834, was one of the most successful students of the solar

He was Professor of Astrophysics prominences. in the University of Leipzig, a position which
he
filled

with success until his untimely death

on April 25, 1882. Independently of Huggins, he found that by opening the slit of the
spectroscope
wider,

the

forms

of

the

promi-

nences themselves could be seen.

The study of the prominences was at once taken up by
the

most famous

solar

observers

:

these were

Huggins and Lockyer in England, Sporer and Zollner in Germany, Janssen in France, Secchi, Respighi, and Tacchini in Italy, Young in America. To Charles Augustus Young (born 1834) we owe the careful study of individual

On September 7, 1871, he obprominences. served the most gigantic outburst on the sun ever witnessed, fragments of an exploded prominence reaching a height of 100,000 miles Young, also, made the first attempt to photograph the
:

prominences. To the Italian school of astronomers, however, we owe the persistent and systematic study
of

prominences. Among them the three greatest names are Angelo Secchi (1818-1878),

the

THE SUN.

55

Lorenzo Respighi (1824-1889), emdPietro Tacchini After the death of Secchi, the (1838-1905).
recognised head Pietro Tacchini.
of spectroscopy in Italy was Born at Modena in 1838, he
director
in

was

appointed
in 1879.

at

Modena

in

1859,

assistant at Palermo

Rome

1863, and director at In 1870 he commenced to take

daily observations of the prominences, noting their sizes, forms, and distribution, and these

observations were continued for thirty-one years, until within four years of Tacchini's death, which

Tacchini did took place on March 24, 1905. for the study of the prominences what Schwabe
did for the spots. The Italian spectroscopists found that the prominences increased and decreased every eleven the spots. Tacchini

years

in

harmony with
that

demonstrated
corona

the
in

streamers

of

the

solar

originate

regions where the prominences are most numerous, and that the shape of the corona, on the

whole, varies in sympathy with the prominences. The researches of Lockyer indicated that the

prominences

originated

in

a

shallow

gaseous

atmosphere which he termed the chromosphere. Formerly astronomers had to observe only
isolated prominences, but in

1892 an American

astronomer,

George

formerly

director

Ellery Hale (born 1868), of the Yerkes Observatory,

56

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

and now director of the Solar Observatory in California, succeeded in photographing, by an ingenious process, the whole of the chromosphere, prominences, and faculse visible on the
solar surface.

Another

solar envelope

was discovered

in

1870

by Dr Charles Augustus Young, who from 1866 to 1877 directed the Observatory at Dartmouth, New Hampshire, and from 1877 to 1905, that
at Princeton,

New

of December 22,

During the eclipse 1870, Young was stationed at
Jersey.

Tenez de Frontena, Spain.

As the

solar crescent

grew apparently thinner before the disc of the " Moon, the dark lines of the spectrum," he says, "
and the spectrum
itself

gradually faded away, until all at once, as suddenly as a bursting rocket shoots out its stars, the whole field of view was

more numerous than one could count. The phenomenon was so sudden, so unexpected, and so wonderfully beautiful, as to force an involuntary exclamation." The phenomenon was observed for two seconds, and the impression was left on the astronomer that a bright line had taken the place of every dark one in the solar spectrum, the spectrum Hence the name being completely reversed. which was given to the hypothetical envelope "the reversing layer." For long the existence
filled

with bright

lines,

THE SUN.

57

of the reversing layer was disputed by numerous In 1896 photographs taken during astronomers.

year finally demonstrated the existence of the "flash spectrum"
the
solar
eclipse

of that

as seen

by Young.
last of the solar

The

appendages, the corona,

The can only be seen during total eclipses. researches of Young and Janssen indicate that
partly gaseous and partly meteoric in its and various photographs, taken at constitution the eclipses since 1870, have demonstrated its
it
is
;

variation in shape, which

is

in

harmony with

Several attempts have the eleven-year period. been made to observe the corona without an

In 1882 Huggins made the attempt, failed, and Hale, with his photographic More recently, process, had no better success.
eclipse.

but

in

1904, a Russian astronomer, Alexis Hansky,

observing from the top of

Mont
he
so

Blanc, secured
believes
his

some photographs on which
corona
vations
is

the

represented,

but

far

obser-

have

not

been
of

confirmed

by other

astronomers.

The
motions

application

the spectroscope to the
is

on the solar surface

perhaps

one

of the most wonderful triumphs in astronomical science. In 1842 Christian Doppler (1803-1853), Professor of Mathematics at Prague, had ex-

58

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

pressed the view that the colour of a luminous body must be changed by its motion of approach
or recession.
if

It

was obvious

to Doppler that

the body was approaching, a larger number of light waves must be entering the eye of the observer than if it were retreating. Miss

Clerke

thus

illustrates

"Suppose
fixed

shots

to

be
time.

fired

Doppler's at a
If

principle

:

target

at

intervals

of

the

marksman

advances, say, twenty paces between each discharge of his rifle, it is evident that the
shots
will
fall
;

faster
if,

on

the

target

than

if

he stood

on the contrary, he retires by the same amount, they will strike at corstill

It occurred to respondingly longer intervals." various astronomers that it would be possible

to measure cyclones and hurricanes in the Sun, not by change of colour in the spectrum, but

by the shifting of the lines and in 1870 this was successfully done by Lockyer. In the next
;

few years efforts to measure the solar rotation were made by Young, Zollner, and others, who
succeeded in measuring the displacement of the This was lines, but not the time of rotation.
reserved
for

the famous

Swedish
born

astronomer,
in

Duner.
Nils
Scania,

Christopher

Duner
as

>

1839

in

was employed

an assistant at Lund

THE SUN,

59

Observatory from 1858 to 1888, when he was appointed director of the Observatory at Upsala. In that year he commenced a study of the solar
rotation,
principle.

measuring

He

by means of Doppler's confirmed the telescopic work
it

of

Carrington
within

acceleration,

and Sporer on the equatorial and measured the displacement up
degrees
of

to

fifteen

the

poles.

He

brought out the surprising fact that the rotation period of the

38^ days.

there protracted to These remarkable researches were
is

Sun

published in 1891. In 1873 the Astronomer -Royal of England

commenced

Greenwich Observatory to photoThis work has been graph the Sun daily. carried on there by Edward Walter Maunder
at

(born

1851),

and Greenwich Observatory pos-

sesses a photographic record of sun-spots.

At

Observatory, near Paris, Janssen has, since 1876, secured photographs of the solar surface, which were comprised in a great atlas, published by him in
Astrophysical

the

Meudon

January

1904.

These

photographs

have
"

re-

vealed a remarkable phenomenon the reseau photospherique," the distribution over the solar
surface

of

blurred

Janssen

considers

are

patches of inherent

light,

which
Sun.

in

the

The Greenwich records of sun - spots and of

60

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

magnetic disturbances have been made use of by Maunder in his remarkable studies, promulgated in 1904, of the connection between

Maunder sun-spots and terrestrial magnetism. finds that on the average magnetic storms are
dependent on the presence of sun-spots, and on the size of the spot. The magnetic action, he
finds,

from

does not radiate equally in the sun-spots, but along

all

directions

definite

and

restricted lines.

hypothesis of a dark and cool globe beneath the solar photosphere was seen to be untenable after the introduction of the
Herschel's

The first important theory as to spectroscope. the solar constitution was that advanced in
1865 by the French
astronomer, Herve
theories

Faye

were (1814-1902). afterwards advanced by Secchi, Zollner, Young, and others, but a complete description of the
various developments in solar theorising cannot " be given here. There is no complete " theory of the exact constitution of every part of the

Numerous other

Sun, but the unpretentious "Views of Professor Young on the Constitution of the Sun," which

appeared in April 1904 in 'Popular Astronomy/
represent the latest ideas of the foremost solar Professor Young regards the reinvestigator. versing layer and the chromosphere as "simply

THE SUN.

61

the uncondensed vapours and gases which form the atmosphere in which the clouds of the

photosphere are suspended." He says that the contraction theory of Helmholtz, explained in another chapter, advanced to explain the maintenance of the Sun's heat, is true so far as it goes but that it is all the truth is now made
;

doubtful by the discovery of radium, which " suggests that other powerful sources of energy may co-operate with the mechanical in maintaining the Sun's heat."

The important question of the distance of the Sun was thoroughly investigated in 1824 by Johann Franz Encke (1791-1865), then of Seeberg, near Gotha, who, from a discussion of the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769, found a

parallax distance

of 8"*371, corresponding to a mean of 95,000,000 miles. This value was

accepted for thirty years, until Peter Andreas

Hansen (1795-1874), in 1854, and Urban Jean Joseph Le Verrier (1811-1877), in 1858, found
from mathematical investigations that the
tance
indicated
dis-

was too

great.

Preparations

were accordingly made for the observation of the transits of Venus, which took place respectively on December 8, 1874, and December 6,
1882.

On
sent

the
to

first

occasion

many

were

view the

transit,

expeditions consisting of

62

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

German, American, English, Scottish, Italian, Russian, and Dutch astronomers, and it was hoped that the solar parallax would be However, the accurately measured once for all.
French,
transit,

although favoured with good weather,
successful,

was not

owing to the

difficulty

of

making exact measurements, by reason of the illumination and refraction in the atmosphere
of Venus.

the

Accordingly the values deduced for The parallax were far from unanimous.

was not observed so extensively, had found the transit of Venus In 1877 to be by no means the best method. Sir David Gill (born 1843), the great Scottish
transit of 1882

as astronomers

astronomer, determined the solar parallax successfully from measures of the parallax of Mars
in opposition.

His value was

8 "'7 8,

correspond-

Some years previous ing to 93,080,000 miles. to this Johann Gottfried Galle (born 1812), the

German astronomer,

had,

from

measurements

of the parallax of the asteroid Flora, deduced Gill's work at the a solar parallax of 8" '8 7.

Cape

in

1888, on the Asteroids,

was

successful

more accurate value than the transit of Venus: in 1900 and 1901 measures of the parallax of the asteroid Eros, the nearest minor planet, were made by many different observaThe tories, and agree with the other results.
in giving a

THE SUN.

63

values which have been derived from the velocity of light, and from the constant of aberration,
are fairly in agreement with those derived from On the whole, the most direct measurement.

probable value of the parallax is about 8" "8, indicating a mean distance of about 92,700,000
miles, with a
miles.

"

probable error" of about 150,000

a different picture the sun presents to us at the beginning of the twentieth century

What

from that which
his

it

contemporaries To Herschel, the Sun was a cool nineteenth dark globe, surrounded by a luminous atmosphere. As the outcome of the researches and discoveries
!

presented to Herschel and at the beginning of the

outlined in this chapter, the Sun is to be a vast central world, which
million

now
is

seen
a

over

words

times larger than the Earth. In the of an able writer, "It is most prob-

ably a world of gases, where most of the metals and metallic bases that we know exist only as vapours, even at the Sun's surface, hotter

than any furnace on earth, and getting a
fiercer

still

Of
Sun

that

heat for every mile of descent lower. heat in the Sun's interior we can

form no conception.
is

The pressure within the

cannon - ball equally inconceivable. weighing 100 Ib. on earth would weigh 2700

A

64

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

Thus a mighty conflict goes on unceasingly between imprisoned and expanding gases and vapours struggling to burst out, and massive pressures holding them down. For reasons we cannot fully understand, no equiFor millions of years uplibrium is reached. rushes and down-rushes of the white-hot materials
on the Sun.

have been proceeding on that bright photosphere which gives us light, and looks a picture of
calm and quiescence.

Above that
'

is

a com-

paratively thin rose-coloured layer, the chromo-

prominences/ and sphere, agitated with fiery outside all these the coronal glory all alike
pointing to immeasurable activities." The following remark of Professor

Newcomb

shows our
"

inability to realise the solar activity. " every foot of space in a Suppose," he says,

whole
all

country

covered

with

13 -inch

cannon,

pointed upward, and all discharged at once. The result would compare with what is going on inside the photosphere about as much as

a boy's popgun compares with the cannon."

CHAPTER
THE MOON.

IV.

somewhat remarkable that the one celestial body which Herschel neglected was our satellite, the Moon; and it is also remarkable that the Moon was for many years the chief object of study of his contemporary astronomer, Johann Born at Hieronymus Schroter (1745-1816). Erfurt, near Hanover, on August 30, 1745, Johann Hieronymus Schroter was originally intended for the study of law, for which he was sent to the University of Gottingen. At the same time he studied mathematics, and
IT
is

particularly astronomy, under the mathematician, Kaestner of Gottingen. Deeply interested in

music, he became acquainted with the Herschel family, and, inspired by William Herschel's ex-

In ample, determined to study the heavens. he became the possessor of a small achro1779
matic refractor, and commenced to observe the Sun and Moon. In 1778 he entered the legal

E

66

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

profession at Hanover, "

was appointed

trate

and four years later he " oberamtmann or Chief Magis"the Vale of Lilies" in of Lilienthal
of Bremen.

the

Duchy

At

Lilienthal Schroter

erected a small observatory, and acquired in 1785 In 1792 one of Herschel's 7 -foot reflectors.

the astronomer superintended the construction of a 13-foot reflector, made by Schrader of Kiel,

workshop to Lilienthal. With these instruments the great work of Schroter was

who transferred

his

accomplished. Schroter directed his powers of observation to He originated the study the study of the Moon.
of the surface of the Moon, and founded the

branch of astronomy known as selenography, The or the study of the Moon's surface.
foundations of this branch were laid in

1791

with

the

publication

of

Schroter's

'

Seleno-

topographische determined to
the surface of
discovered

The astronomer make a comparative study of
Fragmented
our
satellite,

and
or

before

1801
the

eleven

"rills"

clefts

on

Moon's surface, and recognised a large number He likewise believed that he had of craters.
seen a lunar

atmosphere,

an
in

observation

of

which was made
Schroter

by him

seems never

February 1792. to have doubted what
that

Herschel and his contemporaries believed

THE MOON.
the

67

Moon was

a living world with volcanoes in

active eruption, surrounded

by an atmosphere,

and inhabited by beings like ourselves. Unfortunately, Schroter was not good at making nevertheless, he drawings of what he saw accomplished a vast amount of work. In the
;

little

observatory at Lilienthal the foundations were laid of the comparative study of the surface
of the Moon.

But these observations were destined to be rudely interrupted. In 1810 Hanover was occupied by the invading troops of Napoleon, and
Schroter lost his appointment as Chief Magistrate But there of Lilienthal, and also his income.

was worse

to follow.

On

April 20, 1813, three

years after, the French, under Vandamme, with that cruelty which seems to belong to warfare,

occupied Lilienthal,
village.

and

set

fire

to

the

little

A

few days later the French soldiers

entered the observatory and burned it to the All Schroter's precious observations, ground.

accumulated after thirty-four years' labour, were destroyed with a few exceptions, the observations
tion.

on Mars narrowly escaping the conflagraUnable to forget the destruction of his

observatory, and without the the loss, he lived only three
disaster.

means
years

to

repair

after

the

He

died on August 29, 1816, "leaving

68

A CENTUKY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

behind him," says

perishable record, servers of all time."

Mr Arthur Mee, "an imand a noble example to ob-

Wilhelm Gotthelf Lohrmann, a land-surveyor of
Dresden, continued the observations of Schroter, and in 1824 published four of the twenty-five In proposed sections of a large lunar chart.
1827, however, his sight began to fail, and he But a was obliged to abandon his intention.

had already appeared on the scene. Johann Heinrich von Madler (1794-1874) was
successor

born in Berlin

in

1794,

and,

after

a severe

struggle to earn a living, entered the University In 1824 he became acquainted of Berlin in 1817. with Wilhelm Beer (1797-1850), a wealthy

banker,
in

who had come astronomy, and who

to

him

for

instruction

erected in 1829 an ob-

servatory near his villa in Berlin, where pupil and tutor pursued their studies.

In 1830 Madler, with Beer's assistance, commenced a great trigonometrical survey of the
surface

of

the

Moon.

The

observations

of

Beer and Madler were made with no larger instrument than a 3f-inch refractor. They ascertained the positions of 919 lunar spots, and

measured the height of 1095 mountains. Their great chart of the Moon which was afterwards
followed by a smaller one

was issued

in four

THE MOON.

69

"The amount of detail," parts during 1834-36. " wrote Proctor, is remarkable, and the labour
actually
incredible."

bestowed upon the work will appear The chart has neither been revised

nor superseded, and it remains to this day one of the standard works on the subject. The chart was succeeded in 1837 by a descriptive

volume entitled Der Mond.'
'

In this work

Beer and Madler did much

for the progress of

Their observations led to a lunar astronomy. change of opinion regarding our satellite's physical
condition.

Herschel, Schroter, Olbers, and other

astronomers seem to have considered the

Moon
was a

a living world.

Madler declared that
believed
it

it

dead world.
life

He

to be destitute of

of any kind, and the changes observed by Schroter and other observers were put down
illusions.

as

'Der

Mond' was the end

of

Madler's work in lunar astronomy, for, receiving an appointment at Dorpat, he went there in
1846, and retained his post until within a few years of his death, which took place at Hanover

on March

14, 1874.

Madler's successor in the field of lunar as-

tronomy was Johann Friedrich Julius Schmidt (1825-1884), who was born at Eutin in Liibeck
in

1825.

At

a very early age he gave indica-

tions of a taste for astronomy.

Fortunately his

70

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

hand telescope, with which young Schmidt commenced his lunar studies. Appointed assistant at Bonn and Olmtitz and director at Athens successively,
father possessed a small

of the

he kept up his persistent study of the surface Moon for over forty years. In 1839,

when

fourteen years of age, he began the valuable series of observations which were destined

to form the basis of his great chart of the surface of the Moon. Between 1853 and 1858,

when employed
calculated

at Olmtitz, Schmidt

made and

no fewer

than

4000

micrometrical

measures of the altitudes of lunar mountains.
Before 1866 Schmidt had found no fewer than

278 "

rills,"

and

his discoveries

were the means of

augmenting the number of these curious objects
to nearly a thousand.

In a word, it may be said that Schmidt drew out a lunar geography, and the result of his labours, together with those of Schroter and
Madler,
Earth.
is

that in a sense

we now know

the

features of the

Moon
Moon

better than those of the

For instance, astronomers see the whole
geographers
spread before their eyes, can never have a similar
:

surface of the

while

view of the

terrestrial features

we have never

seen the poles of the Earth, while the lunar For poles are well known to astronomers.

THE MOON.

71

twenty years after his appointment at Athens, Schmidt worked at fixing the positions of lunar objects, measuring the heights of mountains and
the depths of craters.

An

idea of his enthusiasm

gained from the fact that he made almost a thousand
original sketches.

in constructing his great chart

may be

Madler's dogmatic assertion that the Moon a dead world was generally entirely believed until Schmidt made observations to

was

From 1837 to 1866 the popular the contrary. opinion was that our satellite was an absolutely
dead world.
ress
in

Consequently there was

little

progthirty

lunar

years.

astronomy during Although Madler's view
truth

those

was

much
of
his

nearer

the

than

the
too

opinions
positive.

predecessors, it was also confident assertion, which

His
until

was received withquestioned

out

hesitation,

was

never

To Schmidt Schmidt came upon the scene. the Moon was not entirely dead, and it was
he who brought forward indisputable evidence as to the existence of changes on its surface.
In October 1866 he announced that the crater

had lost all appearance of such, and Lohrmann that it had become entirely effaced. and Madler had observed it under a totally different aspect, as also had Schmidt himself
Linne

72

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

from 1840 to 1843.

ment

in

the

There was great exciteastronomical world on Schmidt's

announcement,

and

many

astronomers

denied

the change, although Schmidt's observation was The evidence confirmed by Secchi and Webb.
in

favour

of

it

observers

now

preponderated, and very few consider the Moon's surface to

be absolutely changeless. In 1865 Schmidt had begun to arrange his observations on the Moon into the form of a
chart.

At
four

first

he decided to have a chart of

six feet diameter, divided, like that of Madler,

into

sections.

making an chart, he was
construct a

April 1868, on estimate of the value of such a
in
dissatisfied,

But

map

of the

and determined to same size divided into

twenty-five sections instead of four. the work in 1868, and after six

He

began
the

years

After some delay great map was completed. German Government undertook to issue the the
chart at their expense, and it was published in It 1879, after fourteen years of preparation. contained no fewer than 30,000 objects, and its

completed diameter was six feet three inches more than double the size of any previous map of the Moon. Indeed, it was probably
the greatest contribution
ever

made

to

lunar

astronomy.

Schmidt lived only a few

years

THE MOON.
after the publication

73

died

at

Athens,
8,

He of his great chart. - ninth in his year, fifty

February

1884.

Schmidt's announcement of the change in the appearance of Linnd was followed in 1878 by
a statement by Hermann Joseph Klein (born 1842) of Cologne, to the effect that a new

had been formed to the north of the well-known lunar crater, Hyginus. The change in this case, however, is by no means so certain
crater

as in that of Linne.

It will be

observed that
of

the

majority

of

the

students

the

Moon

was Lunar not taken up until 1864, Committee of the British Association was apSome good lunar work was done by pointed. the well-known astronomer, Thomas William Webb (1807-1885), while the study was popwere
Germans.
In England
the

study
a

when

ularised

by James Nasmyth (1808-1890), the
engineer,

famous

who

published,

in

1874,

in

conjunction with Observatory, a
entitled

James Carpenter of Greenwich
beautifully -illustrated

volume

'The Moon/

This was succeeded, in

by the larger work of Edmund Neison (now Nevill), Government Astronomer of Natal. About this time several English astronomers, devoted to the study of the Moon, formed them1876,
selves into

the Selenographical Society.

After

74

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

a few years, however, the society came to an end, and the enthusiasts formed themselves into

the lunar section of the British Astronomical
Association, on the
in 1890.

foundation of that society Chief among those English seleno-

graphers was Thomas Gwyn JElger (1837-1897), whose observations of the Moon and drawings
of the various craters were of the utmost value.

Two

years before his death, in 1895, Elger pubhis
*

lished

important work, The Moon/ along with an exhaustive chart of the visible face of
our
satellite.

Herschel and Schroter firmly believed in the existence of a lunar atmosphere, the latter
believing

that

he

had actually observed the

Moon's

atmospheric envelope. Early in the nineteenth century it was soon observed, however, that on the Moon passing over and occultdisappeared suddenly behind the Moon's limb, instead of gradually, as they should have done, had an atmosphere
ing
of any density existed. mers gave up believing
stars,

these

stars

Accordingly astronoin a lunar atmosphere.

On January
in Pisces.

4,

1865,

Huggins observed with

his spectroscope the occultation of a small star

There was not the slightest sign of
;

absorption in a lunar atmosphere spectrum vanished at once.

the

entire

THE MOON.

75

Lunar photography was introduced as long ago as 1858 by Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (18161892), the well-known American astronomer but for years very little was done in this matter,
;

although Rutherfurd secured fairly good photoRutherfurd, De la Rue, and the older graphs. astronomical photographers took photographs of
the entire Moon, but this plan was abandoned " in favour of what Miss Clerke calls bit by bit

photography."

About 1890
1833),

this

method was
his assistant,
;

introduced, and has been followed with success

by Maurice Loewy (born
;

and

Pusiex, at the Paris Observatory by Ladislas Weinek at Prague by the astronomers of the

Lick Observatory; and by William Henry Pickering (born 1858), the distinguished astronomer of

Harvard, whose discoveries and investigations have created quite a new interest in lunar
astronomy.

These

investigations

were

com-

1891 at Arequipa, on the slope of the Andes, in Peru. An occultation of Jupiter, witnessed by W. H. Pickering on October 12,
in

menced

1892, gave support to the view that a very tenuous lunar atmosphere does exist. In 1900 he established, near Mandeville, Jamaica, a tem-

porary astronomical station, where he obtained many excellent photographs. Totally he secured
eighty plates.

These appeared, as the

first

com-

76

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

plete photographic lunar atlas ever published, in
his

up

(1903), in which he sums all his observations since 1891, and concludes

work 'The Moon'

that "the evidence in favour of the idea that
volcanic activity upon

the

Moon

has not yet

ceased

pretty strong, if not fairly conclusive." Pickering points out that the density of the
is

lunar atmosphere is not greater than one tenthousandth of that at the Earth's surface, and,

under these circumstances, water cannot exist above freezing-point, which of course brings us
to the subject'of snow.
is

He

considers that

snow

observed on the mountain peaks and near the poles of the Moon, and he believes his conclusion
to be verified
crater,

by observations on the well-known

brings forward evidence of the probable existence on the Moon of organic life, pointing out that the difference between

Linnd

He

the conditions of the Earth and the

Moon

is

not so great as that above and below the ocean on our own planet. He has collected evidence
of the existence of something resembling vege" tation on the Moon coming up, flourishing, and dying, just as vegetation springs and withers on the Earth."

attempt to measure the heating power of moonlight was made in 1846 on Mount Vesuvius by Melloni, an Italian physicist,
first

The

successful

THE MOON.
whose
results

77

were confirmed four years later by The most importZantedeschi, another Italian.
ant work
in

this

direction

was accomplished
in

by the present Earl of Rosse (born

1840),

who

years 1869-72 believed himself to have measured the lunar heat but these con;

in the

clusions

observations of

were not altogether confirmed by the Dr Otto Boeddicker (Lord Rosse's

astronomer), during the total lunar eclipse of October 4, 1884. Further investigations on this
subject were afterwards made by Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906), of Alleghany, and by his
assistant,

Frank

Very.

The motion of the Moon and its perturbations were made the subject of deep study by the famous Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827), the contemporary of Herschel, and the worthy successor of

Newton.

He

devoted much attention

to the secular acceleration of the Moon's

mean

motion, a problem which had baffled the greatest mathematicians. After a profound discussion he
found, in 1787, that the average distance of the

Earth and Moon from the Sun had been slowly
increasing for several centuries, the result being an increase in the Moon's velocity. In the third

volume

Mecanique Celeste' Laplace worked out the lunar theory in great detail,
although he calculated no lunar tables.
After

of

the

'

78

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

his death the subject

was taken up by Charles

Theodore Damoiseau (1768-1846), and the most important advance was made by Giovanni

Antonio

Amadeo Plana

(1781-1864), the director

of the Turin Observatory, who published in 1832 a very complete lunar theory. The work of

Plana was followed by that of Peter Andreas Hansen (1795-1874), whose lunar tables were
used for
Professor

the

Nautical

Almanac,

and

whom
to

Simon

Newcomb

considers

be

the greatest master of celestial mechanics since The theory of the Moon's motion was Laplace.

worked out
Charles

in detail

Eugene

by the famous astronomer Delaunay (1816-1872), who

till 1872 occupied the post of of the Paris Observatory. Delaunay was about to work out the lunar tables when,

from

1870

director

in 1872,

he was accidentally drowned by the cappleasure-boat at Cherbourg.
this
is

sizing of a

work

accomplished in

direction

The by Simon

Newcomb

of great importance, (born 1835) particularly in his correction of Hansen's tables.

John Couch Adams (1819-1892), one of the discoverers of Neptune, while at work on the lunar theory, had occasion to correct Laplace's supposed solution of the acceleration of the lunar motion. On going over the calculation Adams

found that several quantities, omitted by Laplace

THE MOON.

"79

as unimportant, showed that the Moon has a minute increase of speed for which the theory of gravitation will not account, a conclusion

opposed by Plana, Hansen, and Pontecoulant, but fully confirmed by Delaunay. Delaunay
suggested in
increase

1865

that the
to

minute apparent
of

was

due

the

retardation

the

Earth's rotation by tidal friction. This brings us to the subject of celestial evolution, which
is

discussed in another chapter.

CHAPTER

V.

THE INNER PLANETS.
progress has been made during the last hundred years in our knowledge of the planets.

MUCH

In

the study of Mercury only dates from the commencement of the nineteenth century.
fact,

Our knowledge of the
very limited,
tion.

vicinity of the
is difficult

Sun

is

and Mercury
fact,

of observa-

our knowledge of the Sun's surroundings, that it is not yet known for certain 'whether there is a planet, or planets,
is

So limited, in

between Mercury and the Sun. Perturbations in the motion of the perihelion of Mercury's
orbit led

Le Verrier

in

1859 to the belief that

a planet of about the size of Mercury, or else a zone of asteroids, existed between Mercury and
the Sun.
It was, however, obvious that such a

planet could only be seen when in transit across the Sun's disc, or during a total eclipse. Meanwhile a French doctor, Lescarbault, informed

Le Verrier that he had seen a round

object in

THE INNER PLANETS.
transit over the Sun's disc.

81

Le

Verrier, certain

that

was the missing "Vulcan," and calculated its
this

planet,

named

it

orbit, assigning it

But it was a revolution period of twenty days. Transits of "Vulcan" were never seen again.
fixed for 1877

and 1882, but nothing was seen

During the total eclipse of James Watson July 29, 1878, two observers (1838-1880), the well-known astronomer, and
on these dates.
believed themselves Swift (born 1820) to have discovered two separate planets, and ultimately claimed two planets each, which were

Lewis

never heard of again. During the total eclipse " " of 18 83 an active watch for suspicious objects

was kept, but with no result. At the eclipses of 1900 and 1901 respectively, photographs were exposed by the American astronomers, W. H. Pickering and Charles Dillon Perrine (born
1867), but on none of these plates could any trace of "Vulcan" be found. At the total
eclipse of

August 30, 1905, plates were again but no announcement has been made exposed, of an intra-Mercurial planet and the prevalent
;

opinion

among

astronomers

is

that

comparable with Mercury in size that planet and the Sun.

no planet exists between

The study of the physical appearance of Mercury was inaugurated by Schroter, who in
F

82

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
noticed

IN ASTRONOMY.

1800

that

the

southern

horn

of the

crescent presented a blunted appearance, which he attributed to the existence of a mountain

eleven miles in height.
this

From

observations of

mountain he came to the conclusion that the planet rotated in 24 hours 4 minutes. This

was afterwards reduced by Friedrich Wilhelm
Beqsel (1784-1846) to 24 hours 53 seconds. After the time of Schroter there was

no

astronomer

who

paid

much

attention to either
arrival

Mercury or Venus until the

on the scene

of the most persistent planetary observer and one of the foremost astronomers of the nine-

Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli teenth century. was born at Savigliano, in Piedmont, in 1835,
Called to and graduated at Turin in 1854. Milan as assistant in the Brera Observatory in 1860, he became director in 1862, and there for thirty-eight years he studied astronomy in all its aspects, making a great name for himself

in

various

branches of the science.

In

1900 he retired from the post of director, and
pursues
his

astronomical

researches

in

his

retirement.

1882 Schiaparelli took up the study of Mercury in the clear air of Milan. Instead of
In
observing the planet through the evening haze, like Schroter and others, he examined it by day,

THE INNER PLANETS.
and was enabled
looking at
horizon.
tion,
it

83

hourly instead of for a short period when near the
to follow
it

At

length, after seven years' observa-

he announced, on December 8, 1889, that Mercury performs only one rotation during its revolution round the Sun in fact, that its day
a consequence, the planet keeps the same face towards the Sun, one side having everlasting day and the other perpetual
coincide.

and year

As

but owing to the libratory movement of Mercury the result of uniform motion on its
night
;

axis
rises

and irregular motion in its orbit the Sun and sets on a small zone of the planet's
Schiaparelli's observations indicated that
is

surface.

spotted globe, with a moderr ately dense atmosphere, and he w as enabled to form a chart of its surface-markings.

Mercury

a

much

Schiaparelli's conclusions

remained until 1896

unconfirmed and yet not denied, although most astronomers were sceptical on the subject. In

1896 the subject was taken up by the American astronomer, Percival Lowell (born 1855), who, in
the clear air of Arizona, confirmed Schiaparelli's conclusions, fixing 88 days as the period of
rotation.

remarked, however, that no signs of an atmosphere or clouds were visible to him.

He

The
"

surface of Mercury, he says, is colourless, a geography in black and white." The deter-

84

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

mination of the rotation period by Schiaparelli and Lowell is now generally accepted, and is
It confirmed by the theory of tidal friction. William Frederick is only right to add that

1848) in 1881 suspected a rotation period of 25 hours, but this remains In April 1871 the spectrum of unconfirmed.

Denning

(born

by Hermann Carl He suspected Vogel (born 1842) at Bothkamp. traces of an atmosphere similar to ours, but was not certain. Of more interest are the
Mercury

was

examined

photometric observations of Zollner in 1874. These observations indicated that the surface
of

rugged and mountainous, and comparable with the Moon, a conclusion sup-

Mercury

is

ported by Lowell's observations in 1896. Venus, the nearest planet to the Earth, has been attentively studied for three centuries, and
still

comparatively
is

little

is

known regarding

it.

This

due to
its

its

remarkable brilliancy, com-

The proximity to the Sun. great problem at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the rotation of the planet.
bined

with

at Lilienthal.

In 1779 the subject was taken up by Schroter Nine years later, from a faint

streak visible on the disc,
rotation

he concluded that

and

in

was performed in 23 hours 28 minutes, 1811 this was reduced by seven minutes

;

THE INNER PLANETS.

85

but as Herschel was unable to observe the markings seen by Schroter, many astronomers were inclined to be sceptical regarding the accuracy of the Lilienthal observer's results. Schroter
also observed the southern in

horn of Venus when
of

the

crescent
this
five
;

form to be blunted, and he
the
six

ascribed

to

existence

a

mountain,

or

times

the

elevation

great of

Chimborazo

while

he

observed

irregularities

along the terminator, which he considered to be more strongly marked than those on the Moon.
opinion on this point, although rejected by Herschel, was confirmed by Madler, Zenger, Ertborn, Denning, and by the Italian
Schroter's

astronomer
director

Francesco
the

Di

Vico

of

Romano.

In

Observatory 1839 Di Vico

of

(1805-1848), the Collegio
attacked
results

the

problem of the rotation, and his confirmatory of those of Schroter.

were

He

estimated

that the axis of Venus was inclined at an angle of 53 to the plane of its orbit. Meanwhile a series
of

important

observations

had been

made on Venus by the Scottish astronomer and theologian, Thomas Dick (1772-1857), who suggested daylight observations on Venus to
solve the problem of the rotation.

In

1877

the

question

was
a

attacked
series

by
ob-

Schiaparelli,

who commenced

of

86

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
on Venus
at

IN ASTRONOMY.
year.

servations

Milan in that

The

results of his studies
five

1890 in

were summed up in papers contributed to the Milan

Academy. He came to the conclusion that the markings observed by Schroter, Di Yico, and others were not really permanent, and concentrated his attention on round white spots, which
remained fixed in
Instead of observing Venus in the evening, Schiaparelli followed it by day, watching it continuously on one occasion
position. for eight
fixed.

hours.

But the markings remained

Schiaparelli accordingly concluded that the planet's rotation was performed in probably 225 days, equal to the time of revolution. One face is turned towards the Sun
continually, darkness.

while the other

is

perpetually in

The announcement was
Miss Clerke says,
"

so startling that, as a clamour of contradiction

was immediately

raised,

and a large amount of

evidence on both sides of the question has since been collected." Perrotin at Nice, Tacchini at

Rome, Cerulli at Teramo, Mascari at Catania and Mount Etna, and Lowell in Arizona, all
confirmed Schiaparelli's results, as also did a second series of observations by the Milan astronomer himself in 1895.
in favourable

climates,

On

the other hand, Neisten, Trouvelot, Camille

THE INNER PLANETS.

87
others,

Flammarion (born
less

1842),

and

under
at

favourable

climatic hours.

conditions,

arrived

a

period

of

24

Aristarch

Belopolsky

at (born 1854), from spectroscopic observations found Pulkowa, by means of Doppler's principle,

a period of
principle,

12 hours.
in

found,

Lowell, by the same 1901-03, a period of 225
results.

days, in

This

is

agreement with Schiaparelli's the last word on the subject.
is

Schia-

parelli's rotation period,

confirmed by the theory

of tidal friction,

generally accepted.

That Yenus has an atmosphere was one of the conclusions reached by Schroter in 1792 and in this at least he was correct, as the
;

atmosphere of Yenus, illuminated by the solar rays, has been seen extending round the entire
disc of the planet.

by

Tacchini,

Ricco,

Spectroscopic observations and Young, during the

transits of 1874

and 1882, indicated the existence of water-vapour in the planet's atmosphere. Yery little has been discovered regarding the " geography" of Venus. White patches at the supposed "poles" of the planet were observed
1813 by Franz von Gruithuisen, and in 1878 by the French astronomer Trouvelot (1827-1895). The secondary light of Venus, similar to the " old Moon in the new Moon's arms," was
in

repeatedly observed since the time of Schroter

88

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

by Vogel, Lohse, Zenger, and others. Vogel attributed it to twilight, and Lamp, a German
observer, to electrical processes analogous to our

In 1887 a Belgian astronomer, Paul Stroobant, submitted to a searching examination
aurorse.

the supposed observations of a satellite of Venus, and was enabled to explain nearly all
all

the

supposed

satellites
lie

as

small

stars

which

happened to

near the planet's path in the

sky at the time of observation.

The study of our own planet can hardly be
astronomy. astronomical observathrough tion that the motion of the North Pole has been
Nevertheless,
it is

said

to

belong

to

the

realm

of

For many years it has been a problem whether there is a variation of latitude Euler resulting from the motion of the pole.
discovered.

had declared, from theoretical investigation, that, were there such a motion, the period must be 10 months. The question was revived in 1885

by the observations
(born

of

Seth

Carlo

Chandler

1846) at Cambridge, Mass., with his " almucantar," newly -invented instrument, the an appreciable variation of which indicated
latitude.

This

was

confirmed

by Friedrich
of

Kiistner

(born 1856), Observatory at Bonn.

now
The

director

the

idea

now

occurred

to Chandler to search through the older records

THE INNER PLANETS.
to discover if there

89

was any

trace of the varia-

tion of latitude, with the result that he brought

out a period of 14 months instead of 10. This aroused much interest, and many prominent

astronomers

denied
in

Chandler's
1891.

results,

which

were announced
astronomer

has

As a well-known " Euler's work expressed it,

had shown what period the motion must have, and any appearance of another period must be due to some error in the observations. Chandler
replied to the effect Euler's mathematics

that he did not care for
:

the

observations plainly

showed 14 months, and if Euler said 10, he I do not exmust have made the mistake. it was a aggerate the situation in the least
;

deadlock

against the whole weight of observation and theory." It was now shown by Newcomb that Euler had
:

Chandler

and

observation

assumed the Earth to be an absolutely rigid body, while modern investigations show that it
is

Chandler's discovery is now accepted, and proves that the North Pole is not fixed

not

so.

but has a small periodic motion, though never twelve yards from its mean posiin

position,

tion.

That the small resulting variation

in the
all

position of the stars has been noticed at is a striking illustration of the accuracy

of

astronomical observation.

90

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
Of all the

IN ASTRONOMY.

planets Mars has been most studied during the nineteenth century. Many illustrious astronomers have devoted years to the study of

the red planet, with the result that more is known of the surface of Mars than of any other

body, with the exception of the Moon. After the time of Herschel, the leading students
celestial

of

Mars were Beer and Madler, who

carefully

studied the planet from 1828 to 1839. They identified at each opposition the same dark spots, frequently obscured by mists, and they also made

the most accurate determination of the rotation
period, which they fixed at 24 hours 37 minutes 23 seconds. This estimate was confirmed in 1862 by

Friedrich Kaiser (1808-1872) of Leyden, in 1869 by Richard Anthony Proctor (1837-1888), and
in

1892 by Henricius Gerardus van de Sande

Bakhuyzen (born 1838), director of the Leyden In 1862 Lockyer identified the Observatory. various markings seen by Beer and Madler in 1830. The other great names in Martian study prior to 1877 are Angelo Secchi and William
Rutter Dawes (1799-1868), who studied Mars from 1852 to 1865 and secured a very valuThese drawings were able series of drawings.

used by Proctor

for

the

construction of

the

first reliable map of Mars, which was published in 1870 in his work, 'Other Worlds than Ours/

THE INNER PLANETS.
Proctor
features,

91

gave

names

to

the

various

Martian

the reddish-ochre portions of the disc being named continents and the bluish-green and Proctor's views on Mars portions seas
;

found favour for
ever, Schiaparelli

many

years.

In

1877, howin the

study of Mars. In September of that year, during the very favourable opposition of the planet, Schiawhile executing a trigonometrical survey of the disc, discovered that the continents were
parelli,

opened a new era

cut up

by numerous long dark

streaks,

which he

called canali.

that

In 1879, to his surprise, he found some of the canals had become double
;

and at subsequent Meanwhile, as Schiaparelli was the oppositions. only observer who had hitherto seen the canals, and he confirmed
this in 1881

there was

scepticism as to their reality. In 1886, however, they were seen at the Nice

much

Observatory by Henri Perrotin (1845-1904), Since who also observed their duplication.

1886 they have been observed by many astronomers, including Camille Flammarion in France,

William

Frederick

Denning

(born

1848)

in

England, Vincenzo Cerulli (born 1859) in Italy, Percival Lowell and W. H. Pickering in the
In 1892 W. H. Pickering sucobserved the canals, and discovered cessfully at the junctions of two or more canals round

United States.

92
black
"

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
spots,

IN ASTRONOMY.

lakes," in

which he gave the name of keeping with the view that the dark
to

regions of the planet were seas. In 1894 Percival Lowell erected at Flagstaff,

Arizona, an observatory for the specific purpose of observing Mars and its canals in good and

steady

air.

He was

assisted

by

W.

H. Pickering

and by Andrew Ellicott Douglass (born 1867). During a year's study Douglass measured the Martian atmosphere and discovered canals crossing the dark regions of the planet, finally disproving the idea of their aqueous character.

Lowell recognised
discovered

all

Schiaparelli's

canals,

and

attentively studied the south polar cap of Mars, which disappeared entirely on October 12, 1894. Lowell
noticed, also, that as the cap melted the canals became darker, as if water was being conveyed

many

more.

He

also

and accordingly he adopted the view put forward by Schiaparelli, that the canals are waterways lined on either side by banks of His observations were published in vegetation.

down;

the end of 1895 in his work 'Mars/

He

is

of

opinion that the reddish-ochre regions or "continents" are deserts, and the greenish areas

marshy
observes,

tracts

of vegetation.
"oases,"

The lakes are
as

named by him
he
"

and,

Miss Clerke
the
full

does

not

shrink from

THE INNER PLANETS.

93

He regards the canals implication of the term." as strips of vegetation fertilised by a small canal, much too small to be seen, an idea which
The canals originated with W. H. Pickering. are believed by Lowell to be waterways down
which the water from the melting polar cap
conveyed to the various
fact,
is

oases.

He

considers, in

that the canals are constructed by intelligent beings with the express purpose of fertilising the oases, regarded by him as centres of
population.

He

remarks that water

is

scarce on

the planet, owing to its small size, and as a consequence the inhabitants are forced to utilise every The canal system is the result. drop.
Lowell's theory has not been cordially received
it
is

although
larity,

now

gradually gaining popu-

and several other hypotheses have been

propounded to explain the canals. Proctor, who died some years before Lowell's theory was given
to the world, regarded

them

as rivers, but this

view
in

be looked upon as abandoned. It was suggested that the canals might be cracks
the surface of Mars or meteors
it
:

may now

ploughing

tracks above

and Professor John Martin

Schaeberle (born 1853) of the Lick Observatory put forward the view that the canals were chains
of mountains running over the light and dark None of these theories, however, gained regions.

94

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

to give way to a more " the " illusion popular theory, hypothesis, put forward by the Italian astronomer Cerulli, and

popularity,

and had

supported by Newcomb and Maunder. On the basis of the illusion theory, Newcomb explains " " canaliform that the appearance "is not to be
regarded as a pure illusion on the one hand or an exact representation of objects on the other.

grows out of the spontaneous action of the eye in shaping slight and irregular combinations
It

and shade, too minute to be separately made out into regular forms." Experiments were made by Maunder in 1902, and the results
of light

pointed to the

truth of the

canals were really illusions. Lowell at the oppositions of 1903 and 1905 have
seriously

theory that the But the studies of

weakened the hypothesis of Cerulli and Maunder, and strongly confirm the theory of the In 1903 Lowell was artificial origin of the canals.

enabled, from a study of the development of the canals, to show the probability of their artificial
nature, and his study of the double canals showed a distinct plan in their distribution. Finally,

on

May

were

1905, several photographs of Mars secured at the Lowell Observatory, on
11,

which the canals appeared, not as dots of light and shade, as on the illusion theory, but as
straight dark lines.

This goes far to prove the

THE INNER PLANETS.

95

in spite of the ridicule reality of the canals, and consecast on them and their observers,

quently the truth of the theory of intelligent in Mars.

life

Meanwhile the old-fashioned Martian observations have been continued in less favourable climates than Arizona and Italy by various astronomers, among them the famous Camille
Flammarion, the American astronomers James

Edward
Barnard

Keeler (1857-1900), Edward Emerson (born 1857), the English astronomer

W.

F.

Denning, and others.

These conscientious

and painstaking observers have done much for Martian study in increasing the number of
accurate delineations of the Martian surface.

The spectrum of Mars was first examined by Huggins in 1867. He found distinct traces of water-vapour, and this was confirmed by Vogel In in 1872, and by Maunder some years later.
1894, however, William Wallace Campbell (born 1862), the American astronomer, observing from

the Lick Observatory, California, was unable to detect the slightest difference between the spectra of Mars and the Moon, indicating that Mars had

no appreciable atmosphere and from this he deduced that the Martian polar caps could not be composed of snow and ice, but of frozen carbonic
;

acid gas.

In 1895, however, Vogel confirmed his

96

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

previous observations, and reaffirmed the presence of water- vapour in the Martian atmosphere. During the opposition of 1830, Madler under-

took an extensive search for a Martian

satellite,

but was unsuccessful.

In 1862 the search was

Arrest (1822-1875), resumed by Heinrich Louis the famous German observer, who was also unsuccessful. Accordingly the red planet was re-

U

by Tennyson as the "moonless Mars." In 1877 the search was taken up by Asaph Hall, the self-made American astronomer, born at Goshen, Connecticut, in 1829, and employed from 1862 to 1891 at the Naval Observatory, Washington. During the famous opposition of
ferred to

favoured by the great 26 -inch refractor, he succeeded in discovering two very small satellites of Mars, to which he gave the

August

1877,

names of Phobos and Deimos. He determined the time of revolution of Phobos at 7 hours
39 minutes, and that of Deimos at 30 hours
17 minutes,

Phobos revolving round Mars more

than three times for one rotation of the planet on its axis. These two satellites are very small,
not more than thirty miles in diameter.
Hall's
successful
search, photographs

After

were ex-

posed at the Paris Observatory for other Martian No further satellites, but none was discovered.

moons have been found belonging

to

the red

THE INNER PLANETS.
planet, nor
is it

97
satellites

likely that

any further

Mars are in existence. The discovery of a zone of small planets in the space between Mars and Jupiter belongs
of

completely to the nineteenth century, although the existence of a planet in the vacant space was suspected three centuries ago. In 1772 the
subject

was taken up by Johann Elert Bode
afterwards director of the Berlin

(1747-1826),

investigated a curious numerical relationship, since known as Bode's Law, connecting the distances of the planets. If four is

Observatory,

who

added to each of the numbers
48, 96,

0, 3, 6,

12, 24,

and 192, the resulting

series represents

pretty accurately the distances of the planets 4 (Mercury), 7 (Venus), from, the Sun, thus 10 (The Earth), 16 (Mars), 28, 52, (Jupiter),

and
the

100

(Saturn).
it

Uranus, in 1781,

number 196. the number 28, between Mars and Jupiter, was vacant, and predicted the discovery of the planet. Aided by Franz Xavier von Zach (1754-1832),

discovery of was found that it filled up Bode, however, saw that

After

the

he called a congress of astronomers, which assembled in 1800 at Schroter's observatory at
purpose of searching the zodiac was divided missing planet, into twenty-four zones, each of which was given
Lilienthal,
for the

when,

for the

G

98
to

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

a separate astronomer. One of them was reserved for Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826), director of the Observatory of Palermo.

1746 at Ponte, in Lombardy, Giuseppe Piazzi, after entering the Theatine Order of monks, became in 1780 Professor of Mathematics
in

Born

at Palermo, where an observatory was erected in 1791 and at that observatory Piazzi worked
;

till

his

death in 1826.

In 1792 he commenced

a great star -catalogue, and while making his nightly observations he discovered, on January 1,

1801

the

first

what he took

night of the nineteenth century, to be a tailless comet, but which

proved to be a small planet revolving round the sun in the vacant space. The discovery

was hailed by Bode and Von Zach with much enthusiasm, and Piazzi named the planet Ceres. The little planet was, however, soon lost in the
rays of the sun before sufficient observations had been made ; but the great mathematician,

Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), came to the rescue, and pointed out the spot where the planet was In that spot it was found to be rediscovered.

on December

by Yon Zach at Gotha, and on the following evening by Heinrich Gibers
31, 1801,

(1758-1840) at Bremen.

On March

28,

1802,

while observing Ceres

THE INNER PLANETS.

99

from his house at Bremen, Olbers was struck by the presence of a strange object near the

At first he supposed it to path of the planet. be a variable star at maximum brilliance, but
a few hours showed him that
it

was

in motion,

and was therefore another planet. He named it Pallas, and propounded the theory that the two "Asteroids" so named by Herschel were
Martian planet, which, through some accident, had been shattered to Olbers urged the pieces in the remote past.
fragments
of

a

trans

-

necessity of searching for more small planets. His advice was taken. In 1804 Karl Ludwig

Harding (1765-1834),
March
no
29, 1807.

Schroter's

assistant,

dis-

covered Juno, and Olbers himself detected Vesta,

1816 the search was relinquished, as more planets were discovered. In 1830, however, a German amateur, Karl Ludwig Hencke (1793-1866), ex-postmaster of Driessen,
After

commenced a search
rewarded,
of Astrsea, December

for

new

planets,

which was

after fifteen years,
8,

by the discovery

July 1, 1847, he made another discovery, that of Hebe. A few

1845.

On

weeks

later,

John Russell Hind (1823-1895), the

Since 1847 English astronomer, discovered Iris. not a year has passed without one or more planets

100

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

being found, sometimes as many as twenty being discovered in a single year. Some astronomers

have made the search
business.

for asteroids their chief

The

principal asteroid discoverers have

been Christian H. F. Peters (1813-1890), Henri
Perrotin,

Paul

Henry

(1848-1905),

Prosper

Henry (1849-1903), James Watson, Robert Luther (1822-1900), Johann Palisa (born 1848), and Max Wolf (born 1863). In 1891 a new impulse was given to asteroid

Wolf

study by the application of photography by Max to the discovery of the minor planets. It
to

occurred

Wolf

that the asteroid would be

represented on the plate by a trail, caused by its motion during the time of exposure and
;

by Arnold Schwussmann (born 1870), Luigi Camera (born 1875), and others, Wolf has discovered over a hundred asteroids, and he has the whole field of asteroid hunting to himself. Few minor planets are now discovered by
assisted

the older method.

In 1901 Wolf invented his
of
research,

new instrument
parator,

the

stereo -comold-

which,

on the principle of the

fashioned stereoscope, represents the planetary bodies as suspended in space far in front of the
stars.

ingenious astronomer has been enabled to discover asteroids at the

In this

way

this

THE INNER PLANETS.
first

101

year by year fresh discoveries are announced from the Heidelberg Observatory, until more than five hundred asteroids are now
glance
:

known.
interest in the ever- increasing family of asteroids was revived in 1898 by the dis-

Waning

covery by Karl Gustav Witt (born 1866) of a small planet, to which he gave the name of Eros,

which comes nearer to the Earth than Mars, and which is of great assistance to astronomers in the
determination of the solar parallax. For some time prior to 1898 astronomers had considered
it

a waste of time to search for
is

new

asteroids
in

;

but this idea

popular, of the benefit conferred on astronomy by the discovery of Eros.

not

now

so

view

Of the physical nature of the asteroids omers know nothing. Only the four have been measured. For many years

astronlargest
it

was

supposed that Vesta, the brightest of the asterThe measures of oids, was also the largest.

Barnard with the great Lick refractor in 1895, however, showed that Ceres is the largest, with
a diameter of 477 miles.
Pallas comes next,
;

with a diameter of 304 miles

while the dia-

meters of Vesta and Juno are respectively 239 and 120 miles. Barnard saw no traces of atmo-

102

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

It should sphere round any of the asteroids. be stated that in 1872 Vogel thought he could

detect an

"

air-line

"

in the spectrum of

Vesta

:

he admitted that the observation required confirmation, but it has not been corroborated either

by himself or any other

observer.

CHAPTER

VI.

THE OUTER PLANETS.
JUPITER, the greatest planet of the Solar System, has perhaps been more persistently studied by

astronomers

than

any

other.

In

the

early

nineteenth century the prevalent idea was that Jupiter was a world similar to the Earth, only much larger, a view held by Herschel and other

famous astronomers, and put forward by Brewster This view prevailed in More Worlds than One/
'

for

many

Kant

in 1785,

years, although Buffon in 1778, and had stated their belief in the idea

that Jupiter was still in a state of great heat in fact, that the great planet was a semi-sun. This idea, however, was long in being adopted by astronomers, and very little attention was

paid to Nasmyth's expression of the same opinion in 1853. The older view still held the field

namely, that the belts of Jupiter represented trade -winds, and that a world similar to the
terrestrial lay

below the Jovian clouds.

In 1860

104

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
Bond

IN ASTRONOMY.

George Philip

(1826-1865), director of the

Harvard Observatory, found from experiments that Jupiter seemed to give out more light than
it

received, but he did not dare to suggest that

Jupiter was self-luminous, considering that the inherent light might result from Jovian auroras.

In 1865 Zollner showed that the rapid motions of the cloud-belts on both Jupiter and Saturn
indicated a high internal temperature. At the distance of Jupiter sun-heat is only one twentyseventh as great as on the Earth, and would be
quite incapable of forming clouds many times denser than those on the Earth. In 1871

Zollner drew attention to the equatorial acceleration of Jupiter, analogous to the same phe-

nomenon on the Sun.
'

In 1870 these opinions of Zollner' s were adopted and supported by Proctor in his Other Worlds than Ours.' In his subse-

quent volumes Proctor did much to popularise the idea, which is now accepted all over the
astronomical world.

During the century many valuable observations on Jupiter were made by numerous observers,

among them
others.

Airy, Madler,

Webb, Schmidt, and

Much

time was devoted to the accurate

determination of the rotation period, which was fixed at 9 hours 55 minutes 3 6 '5 6 seconds by

Denning

in observations

from 1880 to 1903.

No

THE OUTER PLANETS.
really important discovery

105
till

was made

1878,

when Niesten

at Brussels discovered the "great red spot," a ruddy object 25,000 miles long by 7000 broad, attached to a white zone beneath

This remarkable the southern equatorial belt. has been observed ever since. In 1879 its object

was brick-red and very conspicuous, but it soon began to fade, and Bicco's observation at Palermo in 1883 was thought to be the last. After some months, however, it brightened up, and, notwithstanding changes of form and colour,
colour
it

is

still

visible,

Jovian

disc.

a permanent feature of the In 1879 a group of " faculae,"

similar to those

on the Sun, was observed at

Moscow by Theodor Alexandrovitch JBredikhine (1831-1904), and at Potsdam by Wilhelm Oswald
Lohse (born 1845).
It

was soon observed that

the rotation period, as determined from the great red spot, was not constant, but continually inwhite spot in the vicinity completed creasing.

A

its

rotation in 5J minutes less, indicating the differences of rotation on Jupiter.

The great red spot has been observed since its discovery by Denning at Bristol and George
(born 1836) at Chicago. Twenty-eight of observation have not solved the mystery years of its nature. The researches made on it, in the

Hough

words of Miss Clerke, " afforded grounds only

106
for

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

It negative conclusions as to its nature. certainly did not represent the outpourings of a Jovian volcano it was in no sense attached to
;

the Jovian

the phrase have any application to the planet it was not a mere disclosure of a glowing mass elsewhere seethed over by
soil
if
;

rolling vapours."

In 1870 Arthur Cowper Ranyard (1845-1894), the well-known English astronomer, began to
collect

records

of unusual
if

phenomena on the
their

Jovian disc to see

any period regulated

to the conclusion that, appearance. on the whole, there was harmony between the markings on Jupiter and the eleven-year period

He came

on the Sun.

The theory of inherent

light in

Jupiter, however, has not been confirmed.

The was examined spectroscopically by great planet Huggins from 1862 to 1864, and by Vogel from 1871 to 1873. The spectrum showed, in addition to the lines of reflected sunlight, some lines indicating aqueous vapour, and others which have not been identified with any terrestrial substance.

photographic study of the spectrum of Jupiter was made at the Lowell Observatory by Slipher in 1904, probably the most exhaustive
investigation on the subject.

A

The spectroscope

has, however, given little support to the theory of inherent light, and " we are driven to con-

THE OUTER PLANETS.

107

elude that native emissions from Jupiter's visible surface are local and fitful, not permanent and
general." Herschel's idea, that the rotations of the four
satellites of Jupiter

were coincident with their
confirmed
in

revolutions,

has on the whole been

by

recent researches, although

the case of

the two near satellites (lo and Europa) W. H. Pickering's observations in 1893 indicated shorter
rotation periods.

There

is

much

to learn re-

garding the geography of the satellites, although in 1891 Schaeberle and Campbell at the Lick

Observatory observed

belts

on the surface of

Ganymede, the third

on Jupiter. have also been seen by Barnard at the Lick Observatory, and by Douglass at Flagstaff.

analogous to those Surface-markings on the satellites
satellite

Since the time of Galileo no addition had been

made
fore,

to the system of satellites revolving round Profound surprise was created, thereJupiter.

by the announcement of the discovery of a fifth satellite by Barnard at the Lick ObservThe satellite, atory, on September 9, 1892. one of the faintest of telescopic objects, was discovered with the great 3 6 -inch telescope, and its existence was soon confirmed by Andrew
(1841-1903), with his great 5The new foot reflector at Ealing, near London.

Anslie

Common

108

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.
to revolve round
dis-

satellite

was found by Barnard

Jupiter in 11 hours 57

minutes at a mean

tance of 112,000 miles. Although the existence of other satellites of
Jupiter was predicted by Sir Robert Stawell Ball (born 1840) soon after the discovery of the fifth,

much

was created by the announcement, in January 1905, that a sixth satellite had been discovered by Perrine, who, in the following month, announced the discovery of a seventh. These discoveries were made by photography, The periods of the objects being very faint. revolution were found to be 242 days and 200 days for the sixth and seventh satellites resurprise
spectively,

the

mean
miles.

distances being
It
is

6,968,000

and 6,136,000

possible that they

may

belong to a zone of asteroidal satellites. In fact, the fifth moon may belong to a similar
zone, so that Jupiter

may have two

asteroidal

zones

;

but this

is

anticipating future discovery.
itself

A

particular charm has always attached

to the study of Saturn, the ringed planet. magnificent system of rings has for two

The

and a half centuries been the object of wonder and admiration in the Solar System, and accordingly
they have been exhaustively studied by many While observing the two eminent observers.
bright rings of Saturn on June 10, 1838, Galle

THE OUTER PLANETS.
noticed

109
"

what Miss Clerke

calls

a veil

-

like

extension of the lucid ring across half the dark space separating it from the planet." No attention,

however, was paid to Galle's observation.
15,

On November

1850,

William Cranch Bond

(1789-1859), of the Harvard Observatory in Massachusetts, discovered the same phenomenon under its true form that of a dusky ring interior to the

more
the

brilliant one.

A

fortnight

news of Bond's observation, later, Dawes made the same discovery independently
before

This ring is Wateringbury in England. known as the dusky or "crape" ring. The discovery of the dusky ring brought to
at

the front the problem of the composition of the Laplace and Herschel considered ring- system.
solid, but this was denied in 1848 Edouard Roche (1820-1880), who believed by them to consist of small particles, and in 1851 by G. P. Bond, who asserted that the variations

the rings to be

in the appearance of the

system were

sufficient
;

to negative the idea of their solidity

but he

In 1857 suggested that the rings were fluid. the question was taken up by the Scottish
physicist,

James

Cleric

-

Maxwell (1831-1879),
calculation

who proved by mathematical

that

the rings could be neither solid nor fluid, but were due to an aggregation of small particles,

110

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

so closely

crowded together as to present the ap-

pearance of a continuous whole. Clerk-Maxwell's which had been suggested by the explanation

younger Cassini in 1715, and by Thomas Wright in 1750 was at once adopted, and has since been proved by observation. In 1888 Hugo
Seeliger

(born

1849),

director

of

the

Munich

Observatory, showed from photometric observations the correctness of the satellite -theory; while Barnard in 1889 witnessed an eclipse of
the satellite Japetus by the dusky ring. The satellite did not disappear, but was seen with
perfect distinctness.

The

final

demonstration of

the meteoric nature of the rings was made by Keeler at the Alleghany Observatory in 1895, with the aid of the spectroscope. By means
of Doppler's principle, he found that the inner edge of the ring revolved in a much shorter time than the outer, proving conclusively that

they could not be solid. This was confirmed by the observations of Campbell at Mount Hamilton,

Henri Deslandres
at Pulkowa.

at

Meudon, and Belopolsky

In 1851 a startling theory regarding Saturn's rings was put forward by the famous Otto

Wilhelm von Struve (1819-1905). Comparing his measurements on the rings made at Pulkowa in
1850 and 1851 with those of other astronomers

THE OUTER PLANETS.
for the past

Ill

two hundred

years, he reached the

conclusion that the inner diameter of the ring was decreasing at the rate of sixty miles a-year,

and that the bodies composing the rings were being drawn closer to the planet. Accordingly, Struve calculated that only three centuries would
be required to bring about the precipitation of the ring-system on to the globe of Saturn. In
1881

and

1882

decrease,

made

expecting a further another series of measures, but
Struve,
his

these did not

confirm

theory,

which was

accordingly abandoned. The study of the globe of Saturn has
less progress

made

than that of the

rings.

The

surface

of the planet had been known since before the time of Herschel to be covered with belts, but
as spots seldom appear on Saturn, only one determination of the rotation period had been made, that by Herschel. Much interest was aroused,
therefore,
ton,

by the discovery, by Hall, at Washingon December 7, 1876, of a bright equatorial

Hall studied this spot during sixty rotaspot. tions of the planet, determining the period as 10 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds. This was confirmed

and by Stanley Williams, an English observer, in the same year. On June 16, 1903, Barnard, at the Yerkes

by Denning

in

1891,

Observatory,

discovered

a

bright

spot,

from

112

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

which he deduced a rotation period of 10 hours a period considerably longer than 39 minutes,
In the same year various spots on Saturn were observed by Denning, who found a period of 10 hours 37 minutes 56*4
that found by Hall.
seconds,

and at Barcelona by Jose Comas Sola,
of

now

director

the

Observatory

there,

who

be considered Spain's leading astronomer. The result of these observations has been to

may

show that the spots on Saturn have probably
a proper motion of their own, apart from the As to the spectrum rotation of the planet. of Saturn, little has been learned. It closely
In 1867 Janssen, resembles that of Jupiter. observing from the summit of Mount Etna,

found traces of aqueous vapour in the planet's
atmosphere. In the chapters on Herschel
of Saturn.

we have

seen that
satellites

he discovered the sixth and seventh

The next discovery was made on September 19, 1848, by W. C. Bond, at Harvard, Massachusetts, and independently by
William Lassell (1799-1880), at
Liverpool.
Starfield,

near

The new satellite received the name of Hyperion, and was found to be situated at
a distance of about 946,000 miles from Saturn. Its small size led Sir John Herschel to the
idea that
it

might be an asteroidal

satellite.

THE OUTER PLANETS.
Fifty years

113

elapsed before another satellite of Saturn was discovered. In 1888 W. H. Picker-

ing

commenced a photographic search

for

new

on developing some photographs of Saturn, taken on August 16, 17, and 18, 1898, he found traces of a new
satellites of the planet.
last,

At

satellite

which he named " Phoebe."

But, as the

satellite

was not seen

some
to
its

years,

many

or photographed again for astronomers were sceptical as

However, photographs taken in 1900, 1901, and 1902 revealed the satellite, which was again photographed in 1904, and seen
existence.

visually

by Barnard

in the

same year with the

40-inch Yerkes telescope. At that time the discoverer brought out the amazing fact that the motion of the satellite is retrograde a fact which

he attempts to explain by a new theory of the former rotation of Saturn. He likewise demonstrated that
its

distance from

Saturn varied

from 6,120,000 to 9,740,000 miles. Early in 1905 Pickering announced the discovery of a tenth satellite of Saturn, which received the name of
Themis, with a period and mean distance nearly similar to Hyperion, so that Sir John Herschers
idea of Hyperion being an asteroidal satellite is being confirmed after a lapse of half a century. If little is known of the globe of Saturn, still
less is

known regarding Uranus.

Dusky bands

114

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

resembling those of Jupiter were observed by Young at Princeton in 1883. In the following year Paul and Prosper Henry discerned at Paris

two grey parallel lines on the disc of the planet. This was confirmed by the observations of Perrotin at Nice, which also indicated rotation in a
In 1890 Perrotin again took period of ten hours. up the study and re-observed the dark bands.
the other hand, no definite results regarding the planet were obtained by the Lick observers
in 1889

On

and 1890.

by Young,

Measurements of the planet Schiaparelli, Perrotin, and others

indicate a considerable polar compression.

The
and
of

spectrum of the planet has
Secchi,
others.

been
six

studied by
Slipher,

Huggins, Vogel,

Keeler,

The spectrum shows

bands

original

absorption, a line of hydrogen, which, " implies accordingly the says Miss Clerke, presence of free hydrogen in the Uranian atmosphere,

where a temperature must thus prevail

high to reduce water to its conFrom a photographic study stituent elements." of the spectrum at the Lowell Observatory in
sufficiently

1904, Slipher observed a line corresponding to that of helium, indicating the presence of that element in the planet's atmosphere.

our knowledge of the Uranian satellites in a very uncertain state. The two

Herschel

left

THE OUTER PLANETS.
outer satellites, discovered in
four,

115

Titania and Oberon,

were

re-

1828 by his son, but the other which he was believed to have discovered,
never
seen
Ariel

were

satellites,

In 1847 two inner again. and Umbriel, were discovered
respectively, their

by

Lassell

and Otto Struve

existence

being finally confirmed

by LasselFs

observations in 1851.

After the discovery of Uranus by Herschel,

mathematical astronomers determined

its

orbit

and calculated
Bouvard, the

its position in

the future.

Alexis

calculating partner of Laplace, published tables of the planet's motions, founded on observations made by various astronomers

who had

discovery Herschel but as the planet was not in the by exact position which Bouvard predicted, he
;

considered

it

a star before

its

For rejected the earlier observations altogether. a few years the planet conformed to the Frenchman's predictions, but shortly afterwards it was again observed to move in an irregular manner, and the discrepancy between observation and
the calculations of mathematicians became intol-

Did the law of gravitation not hold good for the frontiers of the Solar System ?
erable.

Gradually astronomers arrived at the conclusion
that Uranus was being attracted off its course by the influence of an unseen body, an exterior

116
planet.

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.
first

Bouvard himself was one of the

to

make the
was
T. J.

suggestion, but died before the planet An English amateur, the Rev. discovered.

Hussey, resolved to make, in 1834, a determination of the place of the unseen body, but found his powers inadequate and in 1840 Bessel
;

laid his plans for

but failing
his design.

an investigation of the problem, health prevented him carrying out

In 1841 a student at the University of Cambridge resolved to grapple with the problem.

John Couch Adams, born at Lidcot
bridge, where he graduated
in 1843.

in Cornwall

in 1819, entered in 1839 the University of

CamFrom 1858

Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, and from 1861 director of the Observatory, he died on

January
tion

21,

1892, after a

life

spent in devo-

to mathematical astronomy.
his

In 1843, on

taking degree, he commenced the investiFor two years gation of the orbit of Uranus. he worked at the difficult question, and by

September 1845 came to the conclusion that a
planet revolving at a certain distance beyond Uranus would produce the observed irregularities.

He handed

to

James

Challis (1803-1882),

the director of the Cambridge Observatory, a paper containing the elements of what was

named

by

Adams

"

the

new

planet."

On

THE OUTER PLANETS.

11 7

October 21 of the same year he visited Greenwich Observatory, and left a paper containing the elements of the planet, and approximately

But the position in the heavens. Astronomer-Royal of England, Sir George Biddell
fixing
its

Airy (1801-1892), had little faith in the calculations of the young mathematician. He always considered the correctness of a distant mathematical result to be a subject rather of moral than of mathematical evidence in fact, regard:

ing Uranus, the Astronomer-Royal almost called in question the correctness of the law of gravitaBesides, the novelty of the investigations aroused scepticism, and the fact that Adams was a young man, and inexperienced, went
tion.

against Airy's acceptance of the theory.
ever,

How-

he wrote to

Adams

the soundness of his idea.

questioning him on Adams thought the
reply.

matter
fore,

trivial,

and did not

Airy, there-

took no interest in the investigations, and no steps were taken to search for the unseen
planet.

Meanwhile

the

Rev.

W.

R.

Dawes

Adams' papers lying at Greenwich, and wrote to his friend, the well-known astronomer Lassell, who was in possession of a
happened to see
very fine
reflector, erected at his residence

near

But

Liverpool, asking him to search for the planet. Lassell was suffering from a sprained ankle,

118

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
letter

and Dawes'

a housemaid.
obscurity.

was accidentally destroyed by So Adams' theory remained in

The question now came under the notice of Francois Jean Dominique Arago (1786-1853),

He Observatory. recognised in a young friend of his a rising genius, who was competent to solve the problem.
the director
of the

Paris

Urban Jean Joseph Le Verrier, born at Saint Lo, in Normandy, in 1811, became in 1837 astronomical teacher in the Ecole Polytechnique, and In in 1853 director of the Paris Observatory.

consequence of differences with his staff he was obliged, in 1870, to resign from this position, but two years later was restored to the post, which

he held

till

his death

on September 23, 1877.

In 1845, ignorant of the fact that Adams had already solved the problem, Le Verrier began
his

investigations

of

Uranus.

In a memoir
of Sciences in

the irregular motions of communicated to the
of that year, causes could

Academy

November he demonstrated that no known

produce these disturbances. In a second memoir, dated June 1, 1846, he announced that an exterior planet alone could

But Le Verrier had now

produce these effects. before him the difficult

task of assigning an approximate position to the unseen body, so that it might be telescopically

THE OUTER PLANETS.
discovered.
in his third

119

After a

much

calculation

Le

Verrier,

memoir (August
position

31, 1846), assigned

to

the planet

in

the constellation

Aquarius.

Meanwhile one of Le Terrier's papers happened to reach Airy. Seeing its resemblance to Adams'
papers, which

had been lying on

his desk for

months, his scepticism vanished, and he suggested to Challis that the planet should be
searched for with the Cambridge equatorial. In The July 1846 the search was commenced.
planet was actually observed on August 4 and 12, but, owing to the absence of star maps, it was not recognised. " After four days of observ" the planet was in my ing," he wrote to Airy,

grasp

if

I

had only examined or mapped the
to

observations."

Le Verrier wrote

Encke, the illustrious

director of the Berlin Observatory, desiring him to make a telescopic search for a planetary object

situated in the constellation Aquarius, as bright as a star of the eighth magnitude and possessed " of a visible disc. Look where I tell you," wrote the French astronomer, " and you will see

an object such as I describe." Encke ordered his two assistants, Galle and D' Arrest, to make
a search on the night of September 23, 1846. In a few hours Galle observed an object not

120

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

marked

in the star-maps of the Berlin Observa-

tory, which had been recently published.

The

following night sufficed to show that the object was in motion, and was therefore a new planet.

On September

29 Challis found the planet at

Cambridge, but he was too late, as the priority of the discovery was now lost to Adams. The
planet received the
of "Neptune." For some time, indeed, it appeared as

name

if

the
the

French astronomer

alone

was

to

receive

honour of the discovery. But on October 3, 1846, a letter from Sir John Herschel appeared

Athenaeum in which he referred to the The French scientists discovery made by Adams. were extremely jealous. Indeed, Arago actually declared that, when Neptune was under disin the

'

'

go to Le Verrier, and the name of Adams should not even be mentioned, Arago's line of reasoning being
cussion,

the

entire

honour

should

that

it

was not the man who

first

made a

dis-

covery who should receive the credit, but he who first made it public. However, the credit of the discovery is now given equally to Adams

and Le Verrier, both of

are regarded as among the greatest of astronomers. Only a fortnight after the discovery of Neptune, the astronomer Lassell observed a satellite
to the distant planet on October 10, 1846.

whom

This

THE OUTER PLANETS.

121

discovery was confirmed in July 1847 by the discoverer himself, and shortly afterwards by Bond and Otto Struve. Regarding the globe

of Neptune, we know practically nothing. markings of any kind have been observed on
surface.

No
its

However, in an astronomer in Jamaica, noticed certain Hall, variations of brilliance which suggested a rotation-period of eight hours, but this was not confirmed by any other astronomer. The spect-

1883 and 1884, Maxwell

rum

of

Neptune has been investigated by various

observers,

who have found

it

to be

similar to

that of Uranus.
of a trans -Neptunian planet In has been suspected by many astronomers.
existence

The

November 1879 the first idea was thrown out by Flammarion
Astronomy.' periodical comets
in

of

its

existence
'

in his

Flammarion noticed that
the
Solar

Popular all the

System
;

have

their aphelion near the orbit of a planet.

Thus owns about eighteen comets Saturn Jupiter owns one, and probably two Uranus two or three and Neptune six. The third comet of
;
;

1862, however, along with the August meteors, goes farther out than the orbit of Neptune.

Accordingly, Flammarion suggested the existence of a great planet, assigning it a period of 330

years and a distance of 4000 millions of miles.

122

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

Two
Todd

independent investigators, David Peck
(born

Forbes in

America and George Scotland, have since undertaken to
1855)
in

find the planet.

Todd, utilising the "residual perturbations" of Uranus, assigned a period of 375 years for his planet. Forbes, on the other
hand, working from the comet theory, stated his belief in the existence of two planets with
periods of 1000

and 5000 years

respectively.

In October 1901 he computed the position of the new planet on the celestial sphere, fixing
its

position
its

in

the

constellation

Libra,

and

computing

A
in

search was
1902,

to be greater than Jupiter. made by means of photography,
size

but

without

success.

Nevertheless,

astronomers are pretty confident of the existence of one or more trans -Neptunian planets.

very definite on this subject when he says in regard to meteor groups, " The Perseids and the Lyrids go out to meet the

Lowell

is

unknown

planet,

which

circles

at a distance of

about forty-five astronomical units from the Sun. It may seein strange to speak thus confidently
of
of

as

what no mortal eye has seen, but the finger the sign-board of phenomena points so clearly The eye of to justify the definite article.

analysis has already suspected the invisible."

CHAPTER
COMETS.

VII.

AT

the time
in

of

Herschel

the

ancient

super-

stitions

regard to comets had to a great extent vanished, thanks mainly to the return
of

Yet, although comets had ceased to be objects of terror, no explanation or rational theory of their nature
Halley's
until the appearance of the comet of 1811. This comet was visible great from March 26, 1811, to August 17, 1812, a It was one of the most period of 510 days.

comet

in

1758.

was put forward

magnificent

being 100 millions of miles in length and its head This wonderful 127,000 miles in diameter. phenomenon was the subject of much investigation, particularly

comets

ever

seen,

its

tail

by

Olbers, the great

German

astronomer.

Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers was born
at Arbergen, a village near Bremen, October 11, His father was a clergyman who, in 1758.

124

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
to

addition

considerable

mathematical powers,

was an enthusiastic lover of astronomy. At the age of thirteen young Olbers became deeply While taking an interested in that science. in the month of August, he evening walk observed the Pleiades, and determined to find out to which constellation they belonged. He therefore bought some books on astronomy, along with a few charts of the sky, and he
began
his

to

thusiasm.

study the science with much enHe read every book he could lay

hands on, and a few months sufficed to make him acquainted with all the constellations.
In
Olbers
to

1777,

when
the

in

his

nineteenth
of

year,

entered

study
learned

medicine,

and

University at the

same

Gottingen time
Kaestner.

he

much regarding mathematics and
the

astronomy from
-

mathematician

When twenty one years of age he observed the stars at Gottingen, and devised a method
of calculating

the

orbits

of comets,

the

idea

coming to him while he was attending at the bedside of a fellow -student who had taken ill.

"Although not made public until 1797," writes Miss Clerke, "' Olbers' method' was then universally adopted, and is still regarded as the most expeditious and convenient in cases where
absolute rigour
is

not required.

By

its

intro-

COMETS.
duction, not only

125

many

a toilsome and thankless

hour was spared, but workers were multiplied

and encouraged

in the pursuit of labours

more
to

useful than attractive."

Towards the end
Bremen,
tinued
in

of

1781

he returned

settled as a medical doctor,

and con-

about forty -one years. But although he had adopted perhaps the most
practice for

toilsome profession, his love of science prevailed,

and night after night he explored the heavens He never slept more than with untiring zeal. four hours, and the upper part of his house in
the Sandgasse, in Bremen, was fitted up with The largest telescope astronomical instruments.

which he possessed was a refractor 3f inches in aperture. He remained in active practice
till

1823,

when he
March
2,

retired,

and was enabled

to devote more attention to his beloved science.

He

died on

1840, at the advanced age

of eighty-one. Miss Clerke

" says of Olbers, Night after night, during half a century and upwards, he discovered, calculated, or observed the cometary
visitants of northern skies."

He was

the disGibers'

coverer of the comet of 1815,

comet.

It

known as moves round the Sun in a
and returned

period

of over seventy years,

to perihelion

in 1887, forty-seven years after the death of its

126

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

discoverer.

The great comet of 1811 was the of a memoir which Olbers published the subject following year, and in which he originated the " " electrical repulsion theory of comets' tails. Even after the fulfilment of Halley's great
prediction, comets

were

still

looked upon with

profound awe, and the popular fear regarding them was still prevalent. Olbers, however, showed that the tails of comets resulted from

He regarded the Sun purely natural causes. as possessed of a repulsive as well as an
attractive
force,

and considered the

tails

to

be

vapours repelled from the nucleus of the He calculated that in comet by the Sun.
the

comet

of

1811

the

particles

of

matter

expelled from the head reached the tail in eleven minutes, with a velocity comparable to

The theory of electrical repulthat of light. sion, since elaborated by other observers, is

now

No generally accepted among astronomers. other hypothesis represents in such a complete
manner the formation and growth of the luminous

appendages

of

the

celestial

bodies

so

picturesquely called "pale -winged messengers" as that put forward by the physician of

Bremen.
famous theory was given to the world, a great advance was made
after Olbers'

Some years

COMETS.
in

127

cometary astronomy by another great German The astronomer, his friend and pupil Encke.
son
of a

Hamburg
in

Encke was born
died in 1865 at
in the

clergyman, Johann Franz that city in 1791, and
After taking part

Spandau.

war against Napoleon, he was in 1822 appointed director of the Gotha Observatory,
being called to Berlin in 1825.

In early

life

he was the pupil of Olbers and Gauss, and his investigations and discoveries formed an

His most famous disastronomy. covery related to the little comet which bears his name. The comet was discovered by J. L.
epoch
in

Pons (1761-1831) at

Marseilles, although

it

had

previously been seen by Mechain and Caroline Herschel. In 1819 Encke computed the orbit

of the

comet,

and boldly announced that
in

it

would reappear
3

1822, its period being about or 1208 days. In 1822 the comet, years, true to Encke's prediction, returned to perihelion,

and was observed at Paramatta

in

Aus-

tralia, the perihelion passage taking place within three hours of the time predicted by Encke. As

Miss Clerke remarks, " The importance of this event will be better understood when it is re-

membered that

it was only the second instance of the recognised return of a comet and that established the existence of a new it, moreover,
;

128

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

class of celestial bodies, distinguished as

comets

of short period."

In 1825 the comet was again observed by Valz, passing perihelion on September 16, and in 1828
it was seen by Struve. Encke now made a very remarkable discovery. Determining its period with great accuracy, in 1832 he found that his

comet returned to perihelion two and a half
hours before the predicted time. As this repeatedly happened, Encke put forward the theory
that the acceleration was due to the existence
of a resisting medium in the neighbourhood of the Sun, too rarefied to retard the planetary

motions, but quite dense enough to make the comet's path smaller, and to eventually precipiThe theory was widely tate it on the Sun.
accepted, but after 1868 the acceleration began to decrease, diminishing by one-half; besides,

no other comet

is

thus

accelerated,

and the

hypothesis has accordingly been abandoned. The second comet recognised as periodic was that discovered on February 27, 1826, by an Austrian officer, Wilhelm von Biela (1782-1856),

and ten days later by the French observer, Gambart (1800-1836), both of whom, in computing its orbit, noticed a remarkable similarity to the orbits of comets which appeared in 1772 and 1805. Accordingly, they concluded it to

COMETS.

129

be periodic, with a period of between six and In seven years. The comet returned in 1832.

1828 Olbers had published certain calculations showing that portions of the comet would sweep over the part of the Earth's orbit a month
later

than the Earth

itself.

This

gave

rise

to a panic that

Earth,

the comet would destroy the which did not subside till it was an-

by Arago that the Earth and the comet would at no time approach to within The comet fifty million miles of each other. returned again in the end of 1845. It was
nounced
kept well in view by astronomers in Europe and America. On December 19, 1846, Hind noticed that the comet was pear-shaped, and
ten days later it had divided in two. The two comets returned again in 1852 and were
well observed
at
least as
;

but they were never seen again,
Their subsequent history

comets.

belongs to meteoric astronomy. comet discovered by Faye at Paris in 1843

A

was found
half years.

to

have a period of seven and a

It has returned regularly since its Its discovery, true to astronomical prediction.

motion was particularly investigated for traces of a resisting medium, by Didrik Magnus Axel
Holler (1830-1896), director of the Lund Observatory, who reached a negative conclusion.
I

130

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

In 1835 Halley's comet returned to perihelion, and was attentively studied by the most famous
astronomers
studied by
of the
Sir
in

It was particularly age. John Herschel and by Bessel,

who

assisted

developing

Gibers'

theory of

But the most brilliant comet of the century was that which suddenly
electrical

repulsion.

appeared on February 28, 1843, in the vicinity of the Sun. This great comet, whose centre

approached the Sun within 78,000 miles, rushed past its perihelion at the speed of 366 miles a
second.

The comet's

tail

200 millions of miles.

reached the length of The comet of 1843 was
in
brilliance

however outshone, not
celestial spectacle,

but as a

by the great comet discovered on June 2, 1858, by Giovanni Battista Donati (1826-1873) at Florence, and since known by It became visible to the naked eye his name. on August 19, and was telescopically observed There was abundance of until March 4, 1859. time, therefore, to study the comet, which was exhaustively observed by G. P. Bond at Harvard. His observations convinced him that the light from Donati's comet was merely reflected sunAnother shine, and this was generally accepted.
great comet appeared in
1843,
its

1861.

Like that of

appearance was sudden, being observed after sunset on June 30, 1861, when, says Miss

COMETS.
Clerke,
"

131

in dense nebulosity, shone

a golden yellow planetary disc, wrapt out while the June
still

twilight in these latitudes was

in its first

strength."

the

Moon

the same evening the Earth and passed through the tail of the great

On

The vast majority of people never knew that such a phenomenon had taken place, and even the astronomers only noticed a singular
comet.

phosphorescence in the

sky

a

proof of the

extreme tenuity of comets.

The first application of the spectroscope to the light of comets was made by Donati in 1864. The spectrum was found to consist of three bright bands, but Donati was unable to identify them.
gave the death-blow to the theory that comets shone by reflected

However,

his observation

light

implied the existence of On the appearance in glowing gas in them. 1868 of the periodic comet discovered by
alone,
for
it

Friedrich August Theodor Winnecke (1835-1897), the spectrum was examined by Huggins, who
identified the bright

bands with the spectrum of

hydrocarbon.

This was confirmed in regard to

Coggia's comet of 1874 by Huggins himself, and
also Bredikhine

and Vogel.

The hydrocarbon
and has been

spectrum

is

characteristic of comets,
all

recognised in

The

those spectroscopically studied. time had now come for a more complete

132

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

theory of comets

than that of Olbers.

The

theory of electrical repulsion was developed in 1871 by Zollner, whose principle of investigation
is

thus described by Miss Clerke

"
:

The

efficacy

of solar electrical repulsion relatively to solar attraction grows as the size of the particle
diminishes."
it

will

enough, obey the repulsive, and not the attractive,
Zollner considered that the

If the particle

is

small

power of the Sun.

smallest particles of comets obeyed the repulsive power, and thus formed the tails of comets. The

development of a complete cometary theory is due, however, to the genius of a Russian astronomer. Theodor Alexandrovitch Bredikhine,
born in
1831
at
NicolaiefF,

was employed
to

at

Moscow Observatory from 1857

1890,

when

he was promoted to the position of director at Pulkowa. He resigned in 1895, and spent his
last years in

St Petersburg, where he died on May 14, 1904. From the beginning of his astronomical career he was devoted to the

study of comets and their tails, but it was the appearance of Coggia's comet in 1874 which

marked the commencement of
observations.

his

most important

In that year, on making certain

calculations regarding the hypothetical repulsive
force exerted

by the Sun on various comets, he
that the values repre-

reached the conclusion

COMETS.

133

senting the intensity of the repulsion fell into three classes. This was the first hint of a
classification of

cometary

tails.

Meanwhile he

carefully studied the tails of comets both from direct observation and from drawings.

1877 he wrote: "I suspect that comets are divisible into groups, for each of which the
In

perhaps the same." Subsequent investigations led Bredikhine to divide the tails of comets into three types. The first type conrepulsive force
is

sists

pointed directly away from the Sun, represented by the tails of the In the great comets of 1811, 1843, and 1861. second type, represented by Donati's and Coggia's
tails,

of long, straight

although pointed away from In the the Sun, appear considerably curved. third type the tails are, to quote Miss Clerke,
comets, the
tails,

"

short, strongly-bent, brushlike emanations,

and

comets seem to be only found in combination with tails of the higher classes."
in bright

In 1879 Bredikhine fully developed his cometary theory. Assuming the reality of the repulsive force, he concluded that to produce tails of the first type, the repulsion requires to be twelve times greater than the solar attraction ;

production of tails of the second type necessitates a repulsive force about equal to while the force producing third - type gravity
the
;

134
tails

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

has only one-fourth the power of gravitation. It was concluded that the tails are formed

by particles of matter repelled from the comet by the repulsive force of the Sun, and in tails
type the velocity with which these particles leave the body of the comet is four or five miles a second. Bredikhine reached the
of the
first

conclusion that the Sun's repulsive force is invariable, and that the different types of tails
are formed

elements.

by the same force acting on different The numbers 12, 1, and J, are in-

versely proportional to the atomic weights of hydrogen, hydrocarbon gas, and iron vapour.

Here, then, was the key to the mystery. Bredikhine pointed out that in all probability the
first-type tails are

formed of hydrogen, the second of hydrocarbon, and the third of iron, with a mixture of sodium and other elements.

Within a few years of the publication of Bredikhine's theory, five bright comets made their appearance, and there was abundant chance of

In 1882 testing the theory spectroscopically. Well's comet was particularly studied at Green-

wich by Maunder, who discerned a sodium-line The magnificent comet which in its spectrum.
appeared in 1882 was spectroscopically studied
at

Dunecht

in

Aberdeen shire by Ralph Gopeland

(1837-1905), Astronomer-Royal of Scotland,

who

COMETS.
identified in its

135

as well as the sodium-line.

spectrum the prominent iron-lines These observations

were certainly confirmatory of Bredikhine's theory.
It should also be stated, however, that several

comets have shown, in addition to the hydrocarbon spectrum, that of reflected sunlight, which proves that the light we receive from comets
is

of a

compound

nature.

The comet which appeared in 1880 was announced by Benjamin Apthorp Gould (1824-1896)
to be a return of the great comet of 1843. Calculations by Gould, Copeland, and Hind revealed

a close similarity between the elements of the

two

orbits.

Eventually

it

had

to be admitted

that the comets were separate bodies travelling in the same orbit. Then, two years later, the great September comet of 1882 was found to
revolve in the same orbit as those of 1668, 1843,

and 1880.

Four years later, another comet, discovered in 1887, was found to move in the same
path.

Closely allied to this subject

is

the existence

of

"

comet

families,"

demonstrated by Hoek of
in our chapter

Utrecht

in 1865,

and mentioned

on the Outer Planets.

These comets are found

to be dependent on the planets, Jupiter, Saturn,

Uranus, and Neptune, each possessing a cometVarious theories have been advanced to group.

136

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

account for the existence of these groups. One of these theories is that the comets have been

captured by the various planets,

who have

forced

them

into their present orbits.

A mathematical

study by Jean Pierre Octave Callandrean (18521904) shows that the large number of comets
possessed

by the various planets may be

ex-

plained by the disintegration of large comets into small ones. The capture theory, it must be re-

purely hypothetical, and must not be regarded as anything but a theory. All that we really know is the existence of comet>-families,

membered,

is

and of comets moving in the same orbits. The first photograph of a comet was that of
Donati's, taken in 1858
butt's

by Bond.

In 1881 Teb-

comet was photographed in England by Huggins, and in America by Henry Draper (1837-1882), while in 1882 Gill secured excellent
photographs of the great September comet. The first photographic discovery of a comet was made

by Barnard
has been

in

1892.

Since then photography

much used in cometary astronomy. No comets have appeared since 1882, if we bright except the comet of 1901, only seen in the
hemisphere, although several have been just visible to the naked eye, among them Swift's comet of 1892 and Perrine's in the

southern

autumn

of 1902.

Telescopic

comets,

however,

COMETS.
are very

137

numerous, and a year never passes The without one or more being discovered.
ordinary periodic comets, such as Encke's, Faye's, and others, are very faint, and are becoming a clear proof that comets fainter at each return

This as Kepler said three centuries ago. brings us to the subject of the next chapter,
die,

Meteoric Astronomy.

CHAPTER

VIII.

METEORS.

THERE
history meteors.

is

no more interesting chapter in the of astronomy than that relating to

A hundred years ago shooting -stars were not considered to be astronomical phenomena. They were supposed to be merely
inflammable vapours which caught fire in the upper regions of our atmosphere, although both Halley and the scientist Ernst Chladni (17561827) had notions of their celestial origin. For thirty -three years after the beginning of the
century, however, nothing

was heard of meteoric

astronomy, nor was the subject considered as part of the astronomer's labours.

A
the

great

meteoric
of

shower

took

place

on

night

November

13,

November 12 and morning of 1833. The shower was probably

the grandest ever witnessed, the shooting-stars The display was being literally innumerable.
best observed in America, and

was attentively

METEORS.

139

watched by Denison Olmsted (1791-1859), Professor of Mathematics at Yale, and by the American physicist, A. C. Twining (1801-1884). These
investigators

discovered

that

all

the

meteors

which

fell

during the great shower seemed to
celestial vault.

come from the same part of the

In other words, their paths, when traced back, were found to converge to a point near the star
This observation gave the deathblow to the theory of their terrestrial origin. The point known as the "radiant" was clearly

y Leonis.

a point independent of the Earth. Olmsted also recognised the fact that the shower had taken
place in the previous year, and he regarded it as produced by a swarm of particles moving round

the Sun in a period of 182 days. Soon after this it was noticed that the phenomenon took place

1834 and subsequent years with gradually It was then remembered decreasing intensity.
in

that

Humboldt had observed in November 1799 a very brilliant shower, and accordingly Olbers

suggested that another shower might be seen
in 1867.

The

falling stars of

August were next proved

by Adolphe

Quetelet (1791-1874) to form another
;

meteoric system and accordingly the theory of Olmsted that the November meteors moved

round the Sun

in 182

days had to be abandoned,

140
for,

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
" If
it

says Miss Clerke,

would be a violation

of probability to attribute to one such agglomeration a period of an exact year or sub -multiple of a year, it would be plainly absurd to suppose

the movements of two or more regulated by such

Accordingly Erman suggested in 1839 the theory that meteors revolved in closed rings, intersecting the terrestrial
highly
artificial conditions."

orbit

;

and that when the Earth crossed through

the point of intersection, it met some members of the swarm. The subject now remained in

abeyance for thirty-four years, if we except some wonderful ideas put forward in 1861 by Daniel

Kirkwood (1813-1896), an American astronomer,

who

stated his belief in the disintegration of comets into meteors but little attention was
;

paid to his opinions.

In 1864 the subject was

up by Hubert Anson Newton (1830Professor at Yale, who undertook a search 1896), through ancient records for the thirty-three-year
taken

His period of the Leonids or November meteors. search was highly successful, and having demonstrated the existence of the period, Newton set He indicated himself to determine the orbit.
five possible orbits for

the swarm, ranging from 33 years to 354J days. Newton was unable to but here solve the question mathematically
;

Adams, the discoverer of Neptune, came to the

METEORS.
rescue,

141

and demonstrated that the period of 33|years was alone possible, and that the others were untenable. These investigations, completed
existence of a great meteoric orbit extending to the orbit of Uranus. Meanwhile Newton had predicted a meteoric
in

March 1867, proved the

shower on the evening of November 13 and morning of November 14, 1866. His prediction

was

fulfilled.

The shower was
still

inferior to that of

1833, but was

Robert

Ball,

a magnificent spectacle. Sir then employed at Lord Rosse's

Observatory, observed the shower, and records the impossibility of counting the meteors. This great shower attracted the attention of astron-

omers

all

over the world to the study of meteors.

Meanwhile Schiaparelli had been working at the subject for some time, and in four letters addressed to Secchi, towards the end of 1866, he
showed that meteors were members of the Solar System, possessed of a greater velocity than that
of the Earth, and travelling in orbits resembling those of comets, in the fact that they moved in no
particular plane, and that their motion was both direct and retrograde. Schiaparelli computed the orbit of the Perseids or August meteors,

and was astonished to

find it identical

with the

comet of August 1862. This was a proof of the connection between these two apparently widely

142

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

different types of celestial bodies.

Early in 1867 Sehiaparelli found that Le Verrier's elements for the orbit of the Leonids were identical with

those of the comet of 1866, discovered by Ernst Peters of Altona had Tempel (1821-1889).

meanwhile reached the same conclusion while Edmund Weiss (born 1837) of Vienna pointed
;

out the similarity of the orbit of a star-shower on April 20 and that of the comet of 1861.

drew attention, independently of Galle and D' Arrest, to the close connection between the orbits of the lost Biela's comet and the Andromedid meteors of November.
also

He

All doubt as to the connection of comets

and

meteors was removed by the great shower on

November

27, 1872.

Biela's lost

comet was due

and although searched for was not observed but when the Earth crossed its orbit, a great meteoric shower took place.
at perihelion in 1872,
;

"It became evident," says Miss Clerke, "that Biela's comet was shedding over us the pulverThe shower ised products of its disintegration."

was

little inferior to

that of 1866.

Meanwhile
Professor

Ernst

at (1827-1884), Gottingen, believing that Biela's comet itself had encountered the Earth, telegraphed to Norman

Klinkerfues

Robert Pogson (1829-1891), Government astronomer at Madras, to search for the comet in the

METEORS.

143

Pogson did observe opposite region of the sky. a comet, but certainly not Biela's, although probably another fragment of the missing body.

The theory of the actual disintegration of comets was enunciated by Schiaparelli in 1873, and developed in his work Le Stelle Cadenti/ He was led to regard comets as cosmical clouds
'

formed in space by " the local concentration of celestial matter." He then remarks that a cosmical cloud seldom penetrates to the interior of the Solar System, " unless it has been trans-

formed into
occupy
"
perihelion,

a

years,

parabolic current," which in or centuries, passing
in

may
its

river, forming space transverse dimensions are very small with respect of such currents, those which are to its length
:

a

whose

encountered by the earth in its annual motion are rendered visible to us under the form of

showers
radiant."

of

meteors

diverging from

a

certain

Schiaparelli next pointed out that when the current of meteors encounters a planet, the resulting perturbations cause some of the meteoric

bodies to
bolides

move

in separate orbits,

and

The term falling stars" he says, expresses simply and precisely the truth These bodies have the same respecting them.
intervals. "

aerolites "

which

fall

forming the from the sky at

144

A

CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
to

relation

comets

that

the

small

planets
'

between Mars and Jupiter have to the larger In the third chapter of his Le planets."
Stelle

Cadenti'

he

explicitly

states

that

"the meteoric currents are the products of the dissolution of comets, and consist of minute particles which certain comets have abandoned
along their orbits, by reason of the disintegrating force which the Sun and planets exert on the rare materials of which they are composed." In 1878 Alexander Stewart Herschel (born
1836), son of Sir

John Herschel, and a famous

meteoric observer, published a list of known or suspected coincidences of meteoric and cometary

Meanwhile amounting to seventy -six. much progress has since been made in the observation of meteoric showers and the deterorbits,

mination of their radiant points. In this branch of astronomy, by far the greatest name is that
of William

Frederick

Denning, the self-made

Redpost, in Somerset, in 1848, his career of meteoric obFor the past servation commenced in 1866.

English

astronomer.

Born

at

forty years he has attentively devoted himFrom 1872 self to the observation of meteors.

1903 he determined the radiant points of In no fewer than 1179 meteoric showers.
to

addition

to

this,

he

published,

in

1899,

a

METEORS.

145

catalogue of meteoric radiants, containing 436*7 ; and he has carefully studied the remarkable
objects

known

as fireballs or

"

sporadic meteors."

has occasionally been able to trace a connection between fireballs and weak meteoric
showers,

He

but

he

concludes

that

"

they

must

either be merely single sporadic bodies, or else the survivors of some meteor group, nearly exhausted by the waste of its material during

many

past

ages."

All

of Denning's meteoric

work has been done in his spare time, for it must be borne in mind that he pursues the profession of accountant in Bristol, and that
only his leisure hours have been devoted to the science of astronomy. His researches have

been entirely conducted with the unaided eye. His only instrument is a perfectly straight

wand, which he uses as a help and corrective
to the eye in ascribing the paths of the meteors. Thanks to the laborious work of this able

English astronomer, the observation of meteors is now a scientific branch of In astronomy.
the words of Maunder, " for six thousand years men stared at meteors and learned nothing, for
sixty years they have studied them and learned much, and half of what we know has been

taught us in half that time by the
a single observer."

efforts

of

K

146

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

Further meteoric showers from Biela's comet

were

seen

in

1885

and

1892.

The

Leonid

shower was confidently predicted for 1899, in accordance with the thirty -three -year period,
but the great display did not come off, either in 1899 or 1900. In 1901 there was a certain

weak shower observed

in

America

;

and similar

displays took place in 1903 and 1904. Many have been given as to the failure explanations of the shower, the most probable idea being that the attraction of Jupiter diverted the

meteors from their course.

Denning's observations on meteors resulted, as early as 1877, in the discovery of so-called

The radiant-point of "stationary radiants." a long enduring shower usually exhibits an
apparent motion, resulting from the combined orbital motions of the Earth and the meteors
;

but Denning

found

that

in

some

cases

the

shower, though lasting for months, persistently
exhibited the same radiant-point, implying that the motion of the Earth must be insignificant

compared with that of the meteors, computed by Ranyard at 880 miles per second. The difadmitting so great a velocity led the French astronomer, Francois Felix Tisserand (1845-1896), to doubt the existence of these
ficulty

of

stationary

radiants

;

but

the

fact

of

their

METEORS.

147

existence cannot be doubted, although no really
satisfactory explanation has been offered.

Another type of meteors comprises the bodies termed respectively as bolides, uranoliths, and
aerolites,

stones which

fall

to the Earth from

the sky.

In 1800 the French

Academy

declared

the accounts of stones having fallen from the heavens to be absolutely untrue. Three years
later

an aerolite

fell

at Laigle, in the Depart26, 1803, attended

ment of Orne, on April
a
terrific explosion.

by

In the words of Flammarion, " Numerous witnesses affirmed that some minutes

after the appearance of a great bolide,

moving

from south-east to north-east, and which had been perceived at Alen9on, Caen, and Falaise,
a fearful explosion, followed by detonations like the report of cannon and the fire of musketry,

proceeded from an isolated black

cloud

in

a

A great number of meteoric very clear sky. stones were then precipitated on the surface of the ground, where they were collected, still
smoking,
over

an

extent

of

country

which

measured no

less

than seven miles

in length."

being shattered into have been observed to fall to the fragments, Earth intact, and bury themselves in the ground.

Some

aerolites, instead of

Numerous

instances have been observed during the last century, and masses of meteoric stones

148

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

have been found in positions which clearly indicate that they must have fallen from the sky.
Chemists have made analyses of the elements in these remarkable bodies, and have found them
to

contain

iron,

magnesium,
&c.

silicon,

oxygen,

nickel,

cobalt, tin, copper, of these aerolites, raised to incandescence, has

The spectrum

been studied by Vogel
observer,

and by the

Swedish

Bernhard Hasselberg (born
cometary spectra.

1848),

who

detected the presence of hydrocarbons, which are
also present in

When
bodies

the existence of aerolites as celestial
first

recognised, Laplace suggested that they had been ejected from volcanoes on This theory, although supported the Moon.

was

by Olbers
rejected.

and

other

astronomers,

was

soon

Next, it was suggested that they were ejected from the Sun, and Proctor believed

them

to

come from the giant
'

planets.

A

very

detailed discussion of the subject is to be found in Ball's Story of the Heavens' (1886), in which

he expresses views in harmony with those of the Austrian physicist Tschermak. Ball demonstrated that the meteors which
fall

to the Earth

cannot have come from any other planet, nor from the Sun. Accordingly, he concluded that

they were originally ejected by the volcanoes of the Earth many ages ago, when they were

METEORS.
active

149

enough to throw up pieces of matter with

a velocity great enough to carry them away from the Earth altogether. Such meteors would,

however, intersect the terrestrial orbit at each
revolution.

by and Lockyer, is that the aerolites Schiaparelli are merely larger members of the meteor- swarms, which have been deflected from their paths. The
chief objection to this theory is the absence of connection between the meteoric showers and

The

alternative theory to this, supported

the

falls

of aerolites

and

bolides.

Only on one

was a meteoric stone observed to fall during a shower. On November 27, 1885, during the shower of Andromedid meteors from Biela's comet, a large bolide, weighing more than eight This, howpounds, fell at Mazapil, in Mexico. and ever, was the only case hitherto observed
occasion
;

it

may have been merely

a coincidence.

CHAPTEE
THE STARS.

IX.

THE most remarkable

progress

in

astronomy

during the past century has been in the department of sidereal science, or the study of
the Suns of space, observed for their own sakes, and not merely for the purpose of determining

the positions of the
navigation.

Sun and Moon, and
the

to assist

Thanks

to Herschel, the nineteenth

steady development of stellar astronomy, combined with many important discoveries and investigations.

century witnessed

The one pre - Herschelian problem in astronomy was the distance of the stars.
to
its

sidereal

Owing

bearing on the Copernican theory, the

problem was attacked by the astronomers of the Herschel seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

made numerous attempts
of the

to detect the parallax
failed.

brighter

stars,

but

Meanwhile
were

there had been

many

illusions.

Piazzi believed
in

that

his

instruments

which

reality

THE STARS.
worn
out

151

and
in

unfit

for

use

had

revealed

parallaxes

Vega

;

Aldebaran, Procyon, and Calandrelli, another Italian, and John
Sirius,

Brinkley (1763-1835), Astronomer-Royal of Ireland, were similarly deluded; and in 1821 it was

shown by Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve (17931864), the great

German astronomer, that no

instruments then in use could possibly be sucfew cessful in measuring the stellar parallax.

A

years

later,

however, Fraunhofer brought the

refractor to a degree of perfection surpassing all In 1829 he mounted for the obprevious efforts.

servatory at Konigsberg a heliometer, the objectglass of which was divided in two, and capable

This heliometer of very accurate measurements. eventually revealed the parallax of the stars in
the able hands of Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel.
Friedrich

Wilhelm Bessel was born

at Minden,

on the Weser, south-west of Hanover, on July His father was an obscure Govern22, 1784.

ment

official,

unable

to

provide

a

university

education for his son.

Bessel's love of figures,

together with an aversion to Latin, led him At the age of to pursue a commercial career.
fourteen, therefore, he entered as an apprenticed clerk the business of Kuhlenkamp & Sons, in

Bremen.
remain
in

He was
that

not

content,
position.

however,

to

humble

His

great

152

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

ambition was to become supercargo on one of the trading expeditions sent to China and so he learned English, Spanish, and geography. But he never became a supercargo. In order
;

to be fully equipped for such a position, he determined to learn how to take observations

at sea,

and

his

acquaintance with observation

aroused a desire to study astronomy. He constructed for himself a sextant, and by means of
this, along with a common clock, he determined the longitude of Bremen. Such enthusiasm could not be long without

For several years Bessel remained a clerk, and the hours devoted to study were those spared from sleep. He studied the works
its

reward.

Zach, Lalande, and Laplace, and in two years was able to compute the orbits of comets by means of mathematics. From some
of Bode,
observations of Halley's comet at its appearance in 1607, Bessel calculated its orbit, and for-

Von

warded
greatest

the

calculation

to

Olbers,

then

the

authority

on
at

cometary
this

astronomy.

Olbers

was delighted

work,

and

he

sent the results to

Von

Zach,

who

published

The self-taught young astronomer had accomplished a piece of work which fifteen years before had taxed the skill and patience of the
them.

French Academy of Sciences.

THE STARS.
In
1805,

153
assistant
for

Harding,
resigned

Schroter's
position

at

Lilienthal,

his

a

more

Gibers procured promising one at Gottingen. for Bessel the offer of the vacant post, which the
latter

At Lilienthal Bessel received accepted. He rehis training as a practical astronomer. mained in Schroter's observatory until 1809.

Although only twenty -five years of age, he had become so well known in Germany that in
that year he was appointed Professor of Astronomy in the University of Konigsberg, and was chosen to superintend the erection of the

new observatory

there.

a clerk in a commercial

office

Within a few years had worked his
Observatory was

way from
In

obscurity to fame. 1813 the Konigsberg

completed, and here Bessel worked for thirtythree years, until his death, on March 17, 1846. It was only about ten years before his death that

he commenced his search for the

stellar parallax,

with the aid of Fraunhofer's magnificent heliometer. He determined to make a series of measures on a small double star of the fifth

mag-

nitude in the constellation Cygnus, named 61 Cygni, the large proper motion of which led him
to suspect its proximity to the Solar System. From August 1837 to September 1838 he made

observations on 61 Cygni,

and he found that

154
there

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

was an annual displacement which could

only be attributed to parallax. In order to have no mistake, he made another year's observations,

which confirmed the results he arrived at

previously, third series.

and all doubt was removed by a The resulting parallax was 0*3483",

corresponding to a distance of 600,000 times This was the Earth's distance from the Sun.

confirmed some years later by C. A. F. Peters
at Pulkowa,

and

still

later

by Otto Struve, who

estimated the distance at forty billions of miles. Meanwhile, F. G. W. Struve, working at Pul-

kowa, found a parallax of 0*2613" for Vega, but this was afterwards found to be considerAccordingly, Struve does not rank with Bessel as a successful measurer of star-

ably in error.
distance.

But independently of Bessel, another accurate measure had been made by Thomas

Henderson, the great Scottish astronomer.

Born in Dundee in 1798, Thomas Henderson was the youngest of five children of a hardworking
native

tradesman.

After

education

in

his

town he went
for

worked

years

as

to Edinburgh, where he an advocate's clerk, pur-

suing studies in astronomy as a recreation from In 1831 he had become so well his boyhood.

known, that he received the appointment of Astronomer -Royal at the new observatory at

THE STARS.

155

But the climate of the Cape of Good Hope. South Africa did not suit his health, and after
a year he returned to Scotland. became Professor of Astronomy
versity of Edinburgh,

In 1834 he
in

the

Uni-

and Astronomer-Royal of Scotland, which position he held till his death on November 23, 1844, at the early age of
During a year's work at the Cape, Henderson undertook a series of observations on the bright southern star, a Centauri, with a view
to determining its parallax.

forty-six.

These observations

were made

in

1832

and 1833, but were not
3,

reduced until Henderson's return to Scotland.

At
to

length, on January

1839, he

announced

Society that he had succeeded in measuring the parallax of a Centauri, which he determined as about one

the

Royal

Astronomical

second of

arc,

twenty was confirmed by the observations of Thomas Maclear (1794-1879), his successor at the Cape, and by those of later observers, notably Sir David Gill, who has reduced the parallax to
075".

about

corresponding to a distance of This result billions of miles.

Other determinations of

stellar parallax,

some

genuine and others illusory, were made soon after these successful observations. C. A. F. Peters

156

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

and Otto Struve at Pulkowa were among the most famous parallax-hunters in the middle of the One of the most successful searchers century.

was the German astronomer Friedrich Briinnow (1821-1891), who was employed
after parallax

from 1865 to 1874 as Astronomer-Royal of Ireland. He determined the parallax of Vega as
0*13",

and

this
:

was confirmed

at

Washington of the star Groombridge 1830, which turned out to be 0'09". He resigned his post in 1874, and
Dublin Observatory proved to be his successor also in this branch of astronomy.
his successor at

1886 by Hall while he measured the parallax
in

Robert Stawell Ball, born in Dublin in 1840, was astronomer to Lord Rosse in 1865 and 1866,

1874 Astronomer-Royal of Ireland in succession to Briinnow, a position which
in

and became
he

appointment in 1892 as Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, and director
filled until his

of the observatory there.
office

During

his
in

term of
1881,

in

Dublin
"

he

undertook,

a

"

sweeping search

for large parallaxes,

thereby

disproving certain ideas as to the proximity to the Earth of red and temporary stars; while

he

also

determined the

parallax

of

the star

1618 Groombridge. But the greatest extension of our knowledge of stellar distances, in recent years, is due to a

THE STARS.
Scottish

15*7

astronomer, who has maintained the reputation of Scotland, and also of the Cape

Observatory, in this line of research.

Aberdeen

in

1843,

David

Gill

Born in directed Lord

Lindsay's private

observatory at Dunecht, in from 1876 to 1879. In the latter Aberdeenshire, year he succeeded Edward James Stone (18311897) as Astronomer-Royal at the Cape, a position which he has since filled with conspicuous From 1881 he has been engaged in the ability.

In conjunction with William Lewis Elkin (born 1855), now director of Yale College Observatory, he determined the parfor parallax.

hunt

allaxes

of

nine

stars

with

the

aid

of

Lord

In 1887, with a larger instrument, he resumed the search, while Elkin worked in co-operation with him, but at Yale
Lindsay's heliometer.

Observatory, where he undertook the measurement of the parallaxes of northern stars. He fixed in 1888 an average parallax for first-

magnitude
six years.

stars,

which was determined at 0*089",

corresponding to a journey for light of thirtysuccessful determinations of par" " allax have been made by the relative method

Most of the

the determination of the displacement of a star in reference to another star, assumed
that
is,

to

be

situated

at

an

immeasurable distance.

158

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

The method of absolute
hand,

parallax, on the other

and decimation,

the star's displacement in right ascension has been seldom used, owing

to the laborious reduction which has to be gone In through before the result can be reached.

however, a series of observations were undertaken at Leyden by Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn (born 1851), who determined by the
1885,

absolute

method the parallaxes of

fifteen north-

ern stars.

The
Charles

first

problem was due

application of photography to the to the zeal and energy of

(1808-1893), Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, who determined by this method the parallax of 61 Cygni, which he

Pritchard

announced
with

in

Ball's determination.

1886 to be 0*438", in agreement He also determined

the average parallax of second-magnitude stars, which came out as 0'056". Since the time of
Pritchard's observations
less satisfactory

various other more or

been made.

Few

determinations of parallax have of the parallax determinations
;

are probably very accurate, and none exact an idea of the difficulty of the measurement

but

may

be gathered from the remark of an American
writer, "
is

G. P. Serviss, that the displacement about equal to the apparent distance between

Mr

the heads of two pins, placed an inch apart, and

THE STARS.

159

viewed from a distance of a hundred and eighty
miles."

Closely allied to the question of parallax is the determination of the exact positions of the
stars
this

In and the formation of star-catalogues. much is due to the genius of branch, too,

Bessel.

The observations of Bradley at Greenwich from 1750 to 1762 were reduced by Bessel into the form of a catalogue, which was published in 1818, with the title of 'Fundamenta Astro-

During the years 1821 to 1823 Bessel took 75,011 observations, by which he brought up the number of accurately known stars to
nomiae.'

notable catalogues had been constructed, particularly by the Eng50,000.
lish

At the same time
Francis

astronomer,

Baily (1774

-

1844),

and by Giovanni Santini (1786-1877), director
of the observatory at

Padua

;

but Bessel's suc-

cessor in this branch of research

was Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander (1799 - 1875). In 1821 he became assistant to Bessel at Konigs-

berg, in 1823 director of the Observatory at Abo, in Finland, and in 1837 of that at Bonn. Here

he commenced

in

1852 the great

*

Bonn Durch-

musterung,' a catalogue and atlas of 324,198 stars visible in the northern hemisphere. The After great catalogue was published in 1863.
Argelander's death
it

was extended

so

as

to

160

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

include 133,659 stars in the southern hemisphere, by his assistant Eduard Schonfeld (1828-1891),

who succeeded him

in

1875 as director of Bonn

Observatory, where he died in 1891. Meanwhile a greater undertaking was commenced in 1865 by

the Astronomische Gesellschaft.

This was the

co-operation of thirteen observatories in Europe and America for the exact determination of the
places of 100,000 of Argelander's stars.

In the southern hemisphere, working at Cordova in Argentina, was the great American astronomer, Gould, whose Uranometria Argenc

tina/ published in 1879, gives the magnitudes of 8198 stars, and whose Argentine General

was published
server,

Catalogue, containing reference of 32,448 stars, in 1886. The late Radcliffe obStone, published a useful catalogue in 1880 from his observations at the Cape. The application of photography to the work
-

charting dates from 1882, when Gill photographed the comet of 1882, and was struck with the distinctness of the stars on the backof star

For some time he had contemplated the ground. extension of the Durchmusterung,' from the
*

point where Schonfeld left it, to the southern pole, and the idea struck him to utilise photography for the purpose. In 1885, accordingly,
Gill

commenced work, and

in four years all the

THE STARS.

161

photographs were taken. The reduction of the observations into the form of a catalogue was
spontaneously undertaken by the great Dutch astronomer, Kapteyn, who was occupied with the

work

for fourteen years, until in

1900 the great

catalogue,

Cape Photographic was completed. Half a million Durchmusterung,'
on the plates taken at the
'

known

as

the

'

stars are represented

Cape.

Durchmusterung was completed, a greater undertaking was in progress. Paul and Prosper Henry, astronomers at the Paris Observatory, when engaged in continuing Chacornac's ecliptic charts, applied photography to their work, and found it very successful.

By

the time the

'

Accordingly Gill's proposal, on June 4, 1886, of an International Congress of Astronomers, to undertake a photographic survey of the heavens,

was

astronomers.

received by the French The Congress met at Paris in 1887, under the presidentship of Amedee Mouenthusiastically

chez (1821-1892), director of the Paris Observatory, fifty -six

astronomers of

all

nations being

The Congress resolved to construct a present. Photographic Chart, and a Catalogue, the former
containing
million

twenty million

stars,

the

latter

a

and a quarter.

Paris in

Meetings were held in 1891, 1893, 1896, and 1900 to superL

162

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

intend the progress of the work, which is (1906) well advanced towards completion.

now

unique star catalogue is in course of preparation by the Scottish astronomer, William Peck (born 1862), astronomer to the City of Edinburgh since 1889. Mr Peck's catalogue is

A

accompanied by a

series

of charts.

His

star-

magnitudes are those of all famous catalogues reduced to a standard scale. This catalogue,
the result of more than fifteen years' work, will be an important addition to the many valuable

works of the kind already

in existence,

and

will

further increase the already great reputation of

Scotsmen
the stars
cal

in practical astronomy.

The determination of the proper motions of
another important branch of practiastronomy in which much progress has been
is

made much
first

since the time of Herschel.

Stars with

larger proper motions than those of the For magnitude have been discovered.

many

years the small sixth -magnitude star in

Ursa Major, 1830 Groombridge, was supposed to be the swiftest of the stars, and was named " But in runaway star." by Newcomb the 1897, on examining the plates of the 'Cape
Durchmusterung/

Kapteyn discovered

a

still

swifter star of the

eighth magnitude, situated

in the southern constellation, Pictor.

The rate

THE STABS.
of
its
;

163

motion

yearly

eight seconds of arc and an idea of the vast distance of the
is

over

stars may be obtained by the statement that it would take 200 years for the star known as Gould's Cordova Zones, V Hour 243 to move

space equal to the moon's diameter. Important observations have been made on the

over

a

stellar

motions,

structure of

and on their bearing on the the Universe, by various astron-

omers, including J. C. Kapteyn and Ludwig Struve (born 1858), son of Otto Struve; but these must be reserved for a later chapter.

Richard Anthony Proctor, born at Chelsea, in London, in 1837, graduted at Cambridge in 1860. For the next twenty -eight years he earned his

by publishing many volumes on astronomy, popular and technical, fifty-seven having appeared at the time of his death, which took place at New York on September 12, 1888. Notwithstanding the vast amount of work bestowed on
living
his books, his original investigations

were perscience.

manent contributions

to

astronomical

In 1870 he undertook to chart the directions

and amounts of 1600 proper motions.

engaged on this work, it occurred to " desirable and useful to search it would be

While him that
for

subordinate laws of motion." He found, from the laborious process of charting, that five of

164

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

the seven stars of the Plough had a motion in common that is to say, were moving in the

This phesame direction at the same rate. nomenon was termed by Proctor " star -drift."

He

also recognised other instances of star-drift

in other portions of the heavens.

The
Born
to

subject
in

was soon afterwards taken up
at

by the French astronomer, Camille Flammarion.
1842
Montigny-le-Roi, in Haute

Marne,
1862.

Flammarion

was

appointed

assistant

Le Verrier

gave up his post in Employed successively at the Bureau des

in 1858, but

Longitudes,

and as editor of

scientific papers,

he founded in 1882 his private observatory at Juvisy-sur-Orge, where he has since continued
his investigations.

Following up Proctor's discovery of star-drift, Flammarion drew charts of proper motions. He
" demonstrated the " common proper motion of Regulus and an eighth-magnitude star, Lalande

a comparison of his measures in with those of Christian Mayer a century 1877 while he discovered many other previously
;

19,749, from

instances.

His

reflections

on these motions, as

given in his 'Popular Astronomy/ are worthy " Such are the stupendous of reproduction motions which carry every sun, every system,
:

every world,

all

life,

and

all

destiny

in

all

THE STARS.

165

directions of the infinite immensity, through the boundless, bottomless abyss ; in a void for ever

open, ever yawning,

ever black, and ever un-

fathomable

during an eternity, without days, without years, without centuries, or measures.
;

the aspect, grand, splendid, and sublime, of the universe which flies through space before the dazzled and stupefied gaze of the terrestrial

Such

is

astronomer, born to-day to die to-morrow, on a globule lost in the infinite night."

Measures of proper motion only enable us to determine the motion of stars across the line
of sight.
star
is

They do not

tell

us whether

the

Here, however, advancing or receding. the spectroscope comes to our aid by means of Doppler's principle, described in the chapter on
the
Sun.
It

occurred

to

Huggins

that,

by

observing the displacement of the lines in the spectra of the stars, he could determine their

motion in the

line of sight.

His
In

first

results

were

announced

in

1868.

the

case

of

Sirius, the displacement of the line marked F was believed to indicate a velocity of recess-

ion

of

29 miles

a

second.

Some time
Betelgeux,
retreating,

later

Huggins
Castor,

announced

that

Eigel,

and

Regulus

were

while

Arcturus, Pollux, Vega, and Deneb were apSoon after this successful work the proaching.

166

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

subject

was taken up by Maunder at Greenwich and by Vogel at Bothkamp but the delicacy of the measurements prevented satisfactory re;

from being reached through visual observations, and accordingly the measurements were
sults

very discordant. In 1887 H. C. Vogel, working at Potsdam
Astrophysical Observatory, applied photography Assisted to the measurement of radial motion.

by Julius Scheiner (born

1858), he determined

the radial motions of fifty-one bright stars by photographing the stellar spectra and measur-

Vogel found 10 miles a ing the photographs. second to be the average velocity of stars in the line of sight, the tendency of the eye being The swiftest to exaggerate the displacements.
of the stars measured by Vogel proved to be Aldebaran, with a velocity of recession of 30
miles a second.

Since

1892

the

subject

has

been pursued by Vogel himself with the new 30 -inch refractor at Potsdam, by Campbell at the Lick Observatory, B^lopolsky at Pulkowa,

and other
Campbell

observers.

Towards the end of 1896

undertook, with the 36 - inch Lick refractor, a series of measures on radial motion,

and

many important

discoveries

were

made.

These, however, must be reserved for the chapter dealing with double stars.

THE STABS.

167

Herschel's great discovery, from the apparent motions of the stars, of the movement of the

Solar

System was not accepted by the next

Bessel declared in generation of astronomers. 1818 that there was absolutely no evidence to

show that the Sun was moving towards Hercules. Even Sir John Herschel rejected his father's views, although some confirmatory results had
been reached by Gauss.
Argelander, in a

At

length, in

1837,

memorable paper, based on his observations at Abo, in Finland, attacked the problem, and demonstrated, from a discussion of
the motions of 390 stars, quite independently of Herschel's work, that the Solar System was

moving towards Hercules. This was confirmed in 1841 by Otto Struve, in 1847 by Thomas Galloway, and in 1859 and 1863 by Airy and Edwin Dunkin (1821-1898), assistant at Greenwich Observatory. Meanwhile, in 1886, Arthur Auwers, permanent Secretary of the Berlin Academy of Sciences,
completed the re-reduction of Bradley's observations at Greenwich, and brought out 300 reliable proper motions, which were utilised by Ludwig
Struve, whose investigation removed the solar apex from Hercules to the neighbouring constellation

change was confirmed by Oscar Strumpe, of Bonn, and Lewis

Lyra

:

this

slight

168

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

Boss (born 1847), director of the Observatory An investigation by at Albany, New York.

Newcomb

confirmed the previous results. In 1900, 1901, and 1902 Kapteyn made three distinct investigations on the solar motion, and
fully
still

further confirmed

the previous

investiga-

tions.

These investigations are fully confirmed by
the
application
to

the

question
radial

principle

of

measuring
researches

Doppler's The motion.
at

of

spectroscopic

of

Campbell

the

Lick

Observatory place the solar apex very near the position assigned to it by Newcomb

and Kapteyn.
to be about
"

Campbell finds the

solar velocity

12 miles a second, and Kapteyn thinks a velocity of about 11 miles a second is

the most probable value that can at present be adopted."

CHAPTER

X.

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.
a science of stellar chemistry should not only have become possible, but should already have made material advances, is assuredly one
of the most amazing features in the swift proSo gress of knowledge our age has witnessed/'
writes Miss

"

THAT

Agnes Mary Clerke, the

historian

of modern astronomy. As long ago as 1823 Fraunhofer observed the spectra of the brighter
stars,

and gathered the

first

hint of the group-

ing of the stars into three classes. Then, after Fraunhofer's death, the subject lay in abeyance
for thirty-seven years.

At

length, in 1860, on

Kirchhoffs explanation of the Fraunhofer lines, the study of stellar spectra was inaugurated at
Florence by Donati, who carefully fixed the posiHis instrutions of the more important lines.

mental means, however, were very limited, and In 1862 his observations were not successful.
Rutherford, in

New

York, commenced the study

170

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

of stellar spectra, but shortly afterwards turned his attention to astronomical photography. The
actual founders of stellar spectroscopy were the eminent Italian observer, Angelo Secchi, and the
illustrious

Englishman, William Huggins.

Angelo Secchi was born in 1818 at Reggio, in the Emilia. Educated in the Collegio Romano, he was ordained priest in 1847, but his love of
science,

and particularly astronomy, dates from

In 1849 he sucthe beginning of his career. ceeded Di Vico as director of the Observatory
This post he filled with conspicuous ability for a period of twenty nine years, until his death on February 26, 1878.
of the
Collegio
spectroof the heavens. He reviewed the scopic survey spectra of 4000 stars, and classified them into

Romano.

To Secchi

is

due the credit of the

first

four
this

distinct

groups,

This type is represented by Sirius, Vega, Altair, and other bluish -white stars, and is characterised by the
intensity of the

The first day. of 'those which Secchi examined.

which are recognised to type embraces over half

hydrogen

lines.

The second

type embraces the yellow stars, such as Capella, Arcturus, Aldebaran, Pollux, and the Sun itself,

and

is

known

as the Solar type.

The spectra

of these stars closely resemble that of the Sun, and are distinguished by innumerable lines.

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.

171

Secchi's third type, or red stars, represented by Betelgeux, Antares, and others, are characterised

by strong absorption bands, and the spectra have been described as " fluted." The third- type stars
are comparatively scarce compared with the first and second, and the fourth is even less numerous.

The fourth -type
absorption
lines.

stars are also red with broad

To

Secchi's four types a fifth

was added

in

Observatory aimed at a comprehensive survey of the stellar spectra, and he accomplished much valuable
work.
did not devote his time to analysThis branch of study ing individual stars. of spectra and the determination of the analysis

1867 by Wolf and Rayet of Paris namely, the gaseous stars. Secchi

He

elements in the stars

was undertaken by

his

contemporary, William Huggins, one of the greatest astronomers whom England has ever
produced.

Born in London in 1824, William Huggins commenced his astronomical researches at the
In 1856 he erected, at age of twenty -eight. Tulse Hill, London, an observatory which he
equipped
at

great

observations

on the

He commenced expense. usual astronomical lines,

taking times of transits and making drawings of the surfaces of the planets. But he soon
tired

of the

routine

of ordinary astronomical

172
work,

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
and
on
the

IN ASTRONOMY.
of
Kirchhoff's

publication

explanation of the Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum, he commenced to investigate the
spectra of the stars. able spectroscope, he

Having constructed a suitcommenced observations in

1862 in conjunction with his friend, William Allen Miller, Professor of Chemistry in London. He exhaustively investigated the two red stars,
Betelgeux and Aldebaran, ascertaining the existence in the former star of sodium, iron, calcium,

magnesium, and bismuth

;

and

in the latter star

the same elements, with the addition of tellurium,

antimony, and mercury. In 1863 Huggins made an attempt to photograph the spectra of the stars, and, indeed,
obtained prints of Sirius and Capella, but no lines were visible in them. In 1874 Draper of
a photograph of the spectrum of Vega, showing four lines. Two years later Huggins again attacked the problem, and secured a photograph of the spectrum of Vega, showing seven strong lines. In 1879 he was enabled to

New York obtained

communicate satisfactory results of his work to the Royal Society, and since then he has secured

many

monumental work,

admirable representations. ID 1899 the An Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra/ the joint work of Sir William
'

and Lady Huggins, was published.

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.

1*73

In 1874 the German Government established

Potsdam the Astrophysical Observatory, for the spectroscopic study of the Sun and stars. position on the staff was given to Hermann Carl Vogel, whose researches in astronomical
at

A

spectroscopy

rank with

those

of

Secchi

and

Huggins. Born in Leipzig in 1842, he was from 1865 to 1869 employed in the Leipzig Observatory.

Called to

Bothkamp

as director in 1870,

he resigned his post in 1874 to accept a position on the staff at Potsdam Observatory. In 1882
he became director of that Institution, which position he still retains. In 1874 Vogel revised Secchi's classification of stellar spectra, and in 1895 he further improved on
it.

His

classification

improves rather than
;

supersedes the previous work of Secchi nevertheless, he approached the question from a different standpoint. Vogel concluded in 1874

that a rational scheme of stellar classification

"can only be arrived at by proceeding from the standpoint that the phrase of development of the particular body is, in general, mirrored in its spectrum." Vogel divides Secchi's first type into
three classes.
"

In the

first

type, designated la,

represented by
lines are

Sirius

very faint

lines conspicuous.

and Vega, the metallic and fine," and the hydrogen In 16 no hydrogen lines are

174
visible,

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

while in Ic the hydrogen lines are bright. This class includes the gaseous stars. In 1895, after the recognition of helium in the stars by
his assistant, Scheiner,

of class 16 from the

first

Vogel separated the stars type altogether. These

" stars are sometimes designated as Type O," and sometimes as helium stars and Orion stars, as

the majority of the stars in Orion are of that The solar type is divided into two classes, type.

Ila being represented by the Sun, Capella, and other well-known stars, while 116 includes the

Wolf- Rayet
third
type.

stars.

Secchi's

third

and fourth
as

types are both

classified

by Vogel
stars

of the

These

red

were

specially

studied from 1878 to 1884 by Duner at Lund. His results were published in a descriptive catalogue which appeared at Stockholm in 1884.

His researches related to the spectra of 352 stars, 297 of Secchi's third type and 55 of his
fourth.

Duner

is

perhaps the greatest authority
of spectra
is

on stars with banded spectra.
Vogel's
classification

generally

adopted by astronomers, although others have been proposed by Lockyer and by Edward Charles
Pickering (born 1846), director of the Harvard
Observatory.
Lockyer's classification was
"
de-

signed to fit in with his meteoritic hypothesis," discussed in the chapter on Celestial Evolution.

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.

175

were divided by Lockyer into seven groups, according to his views of their temperastars
ture, rising

The

through gaseous stars, red stars of Secchi's third type, and a division of solar stars

to the Sirian type, and falling through a second division of the solar type to red stars of Secchi's

fourth type.

The

first

spectroscopic

star

-

catalogue

was

published in 1883 by Vogel, assisted by Gustav Mutter (born 1851), a son-in-law of Sporer. The
catalogue contained details of 4051 stars to the seventh magnitude, and more than half of these

proved to be of Secchi's

first

type.

Vogel's

was completed in different latitudes at Upsala, and by Nicolaus Thege von Konkoly (born 1842) at O'Gyalla in Hungary. The famous Draper Catalogue ranks as the It was greatest catalogue of stellar spectra. undertaken at Harvard Observatory by E. C.
*

work by Duner

'

Pickering, in the form of a memorial to Draper, the successful spectroscopist.

Henry Com-

menced
tains

in 1886,

and published

in 1890, it con-

photographs of the spectra of no fewer

than 10,351

stars, down to the eighth magnitude. subdivided Secchi's types into various Pickering classes, the first or Sirian into four classes, the

second into eight, while the third and fourth types each constitute a separate class. Pickering

176

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

designated his classes by the capital letters of the alphabet.

Much

useful

work has been done

also in the

Julius Scheiner, analysis of the various spectra. " chief observer" at Potsdam now Astrophysical

Observatory, has, since 1890, done

much

valuable

Special attention was devoted to the spectrum of Capella, 490 lines in the spectrum of which were measured by Scheiner. " he believes a
in this direction.

work

In his

own

words,

complete proof

of the absolute agreement between its spectrum and that of the Sun to be thereby furnished."

Other stars of the Sirian and solar

classes

were

exhaustively studied by Scheiner. The study of the exact brilliance of the stars

was a branch of research long neglected, yet
is

it

only through exact measurement of stellar brilliance Herschel that stellar variation can be detected.

of

much importance

in astronomy, for it

is

commenced the study, which was continued by
only within the last twenty years that stellar photometry has become a recognised branch of astronomy and
his son at the Cape,
it is
;

but

due to the energy and zeal of the great American observer, Edward Charles
the credit of this
is

Pickering.

Born

in

Boston

in

1846,
in

Edward Charles

Pickering was appointed

1865 Instructor of

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.
mathematics
at
in

177

the Lawrence Scientific School
a
distinguished
university

Winlock as director of the Harvard Observatory, and in the following year he commenced his photometric He invented an instrument named the studies.
he
succeeded

Harvard, career. In 1876

after

meridian photometer, with the aid of which he succeeded in determining, in the years 1879 to
1882, the exact brilliance of 4260 stars to the
sixth magnitude between the north celestial pole and thirty degrees of south declination. At a
later date

he devised a larger photometer, with which he made over one million observations.
Pickering next extended his survey to the southern hemisphere, erecting the photometer on
the
slope

of the
station

Andes, where
at Arequipa
is

the

Harvard
located,

auxiliary

now

and where 8000 determinations of stellar brilliance were made. Meanwhile Pritchard, at Oxford, published in

1885 his

*

Uranometria Nova

Oxoniensis,' with photometric determinations of the brilliance of 2784 stars from the pole to

ten

degrees

of

south

declination.

Both

of

these catalogues were epoch-making works, and testify to the enthusiasm and perseverance of

the astronomers

who designed them.
stellar

The study of

photometry glides into

that of stellar variation.

At

the beginning of

M

178

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

the nineteenth century the number of known variable stars was very small, as a glance at the
list

given in Brewster's edition of Ferguson's Astronomy (1811) will show. Some remarkable
investigations were due to the English astron-

Goodricke (1764-1786), who rediscovered the variability of the star Algol, and Goodaccurately determined its period in 1782.
omer, John
ricke suggested that the regular variations in the light of Algol were due to the partial eclipse of its light by a dark satellite, a hypothesis

now

fully confirmed.

Two

years later, in

1784, Goodricke discovered other two variables,
8 Cephei and y8 Lyreo. He died in 1786 at the age of twenty-one, and thus variable-star astron-

omy was

deprived of its founder. The foundation of variable-star astronomy as an exact branch of the science is due to Argelander.

In the years 1837-1845, while residing at Bonn during the erection of the observatory,
of which he had been

made

director,

he erected

a temporary observatory, and there he carefully determined the magnitudes of all stars visible in
Central Europe. From this he was led to the discussion of stellar variation, to which subject

he continued to give much attention.
the
first

He was

to
stars

describe

variable

method of observing a scientifically and accurately,
a

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.
method consisting
"
in estimating in

179
"
"

steps

or

grades" the difference in brilliance between the
for

variable, or suspected variable,

which are selected

and other stars comparison, and which

are of various degrees of brilliance, so that they may be available for comparison with the variable throughout its fluctuations. Argelander's " " are tenths of a magnitude, and Gore steps describes the method of observation as follows
:

a and b the comparison the variable, a being brighter than
call
is

"If we

stars,
b,

and v
if

and

v

judged to be midway in brightness between a and 6, we write a5v5b. If v is slightly nearer to
6,

we

write

av4b.

We

may

also write a3v7b,

or a7v3b, the
ten."

sum

of the steps being always

This method, described in 1844, led to many discoveries at Bonn in the following twenty
years by Argelander and his assistants Schmidt and Schonfeld. At this time Eduard Heis
(1806-1877), at Minister, who also ranks as one of the founders of meteoric astronomy, while engaged on the construction of his great atlas,
attentively determined the change of magnitude of stars visible to the naked eye and by means
;

of the naked eye, the opera-glass, and a small telescope, he amassed a large number of observations.

At the same time two English

observers,

180

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

Hind and Pogson, were making remarkable discoveries which greatly increased the number of known variables. Among Hind's discoveries were S Cancri of the Algol type while Schmidt discovered another of the same class, 8 Librae, and also the famous Geminorum. While director of the Observatory of Mannheim,
;

an institution equipped with very antiquated instruments, Schonfeld devoted himself to the
study of variable
ber of
stars,

and increased the numconsiderably.

known

variables

In the

southern hemisphere Gould, in South America, did for the observation of variable stars what

Argelander did in the northern. In 1874 a very important, although not so
obvious, service to variable-star astronomy

was

rendered by the Danish observer, Hans Carl Fredrik Christian Schjellerup (1827-1887). He
translated from Arabic into French the works

of the Persian astronomer of a thousand years ago, Al-Sufi, and thus rendered his observations
available to

modern astronomers.

Al-Sufi was

a most accurate observer, and, by comparing his catalogue with those of modern observers,

be found whether stars have changed in brilliance during the past thousand years.
it

can

The study of
in recent years

variable stars has been pursued

by many astronomers, both by

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.

181

means of photography and by the visual method. The most important names in the visual discovery of variables are Gustav Miiller and Paul Friedrich Ferdinand Kempf(bom 1856) of Potsdam Alexander William Roberts of Lovedale, South Africa Seth Carlo Chandler of Boston Nils Christopher Duner at Upsala and John
; ;

;

;

Ellard Gore (born 1845)

in Dublin.

The researches of

J.

E. Gore are a brilliant

example of how much may be done for astronomy by means of very moderate instruments. Born
in 1845 at Athlone, in

Connaught, he went to India in 1868 as engineer on the Sirhind Canal

in the Punjab.

While

in India

he erected his

small telescopes on brick pillars, and took observations, many of them of stellar brilliance.

In 1879 he returned to Ireland, and since then has devoted himself to astronomy with zeal and

His discoveries and investigations of variables have been made by means of the
enthusiasm.
binocular.

On December

13, 1885,

he discovered

a remarkable star in Orion, which was at first considered to be temporary, and called " Nova
Orionis," but

was afterwards found

to

be a long-

period variable star.

Recently photography has come much to the
front in the discovery of variable stars. Pickering at Harvard, and Wolf at Heidelberg, have

182

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

distinguished themselves in this branch, and the number of known variables is
particularly

now very
coveries,

large, as

every year brings fresh

dis-

mostly by aid of photography.

Many

of these newly-discovered variables are in starclusters

and

nebulae.

Pickering
all

proposed
over
;

in

1880

the

following
Class

classification of variable stars,

which has been
world
:

adopted
I.,

the

scientific
II.,

temporary star
several

Class

stars undergoing

in

months

Mira Ceti and
variables,
lis;

U

large Orionis

variations,
;

such

as

Class III., irregular

such

as

Betelgeux

and

a

Hercu-

Class IV., short -period variables, such as S Cephei, Geminorum, and ft Lyrse Class V.,
;

Algol variables," which undergo variations lastIt is doubtful whether ing but a few hours.

11

new

stars should be included in a classification

of variables, although

new To these
This

one case, at least, a star was found to be a long-period variable.
in

a

sixth

class

may now
is

be

added.

mainly due to the profound investigations of Gore, is composed of what have been termed "secular variclass,

the detection of which

ables,"

which
This

undergo
Class

slow

fluctuations

in

periods of
turies.
-

many

years, includes

and sometimes of cen8

Ursse Majoris,
e

Al Fard, X Draconis,

6 Serpentis,

Pegasi,

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.

183

Piscis Australia, fi Leonis, 83 Ursae Majoris, a Ophiuchi, 77 Crateris, and others. The secular

variations

of

some of these

stars

have been

detected by Gore himself during the past thirty them years, while in other cases he has detected

by comparison of the most important star-catalogues, from Hipparchus and Al-Sufi down to our own time. In some cases the star in question

seems to be slowly gaining in

brilliance,

in others slowly diminishing.

Thanks

much

is

now known

to the application of the spectroscope, of the cause of the light

changes in variable stars. Goodricke's theory of the variations of Algol was theoretically confirmed by the researches of E. C. Pickering in
In 1889 Vogel proved beyond a doubt that the variation in the light of Algol is due to
1880.

the partial eclipse of its light by a dark satellite. It was obvious to Vogel that, as both Algol

and

its

companion are

in revolution

round their

common centre of gravity, the motion of Algol in the line of sight might be detected by the Vogel spectroscopic method of observation.
found that before each eclipse Algol was retreating from our system, while on recovering it gave
signs of rapid approach, proving conclusively that both the star and its dark satellite were in

revolution round their centre of gravity,

Algol

184

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

suffering partial eclipse only because the plane of the orbit lies in our line of sight. Algol, is not a variable star, but therefore, inherently

merely a binary.

Following up his researches, Vogel, assuming that the bright and dark stars are of equal density, arrived at the conclusion
that Algol is a globe about one and a half million miles in diameter, the satellite equalling

the size of the Sun, and the centres of the stars

being separated by about 3,230,000 miles. Thus, star- variables of the Algol type are not variable in the true sense of the word. Even the most
irregular of the Algol variables have been explained.

Perhaps the most irregular was Y Cygni, discovered by Chandler in 1886. It was soon found, however, that the variations recurred with great irregularity in less than two years
:

the phases differed by as from the predicted times.
observations

much as seven hours At length the subject

was taken up by Dune'r at Upsala.

A

series of

made with the

14-inch refractor at

Upsala in 1891 and 1892 convinced him in the latter year that two eclipses take place in the
course of one revolution
other.
:

one star occults the
intervals

Duner showed that the
1

between

minima were thus

day 9 hours; 1 day 15 hours; 1 day 9 hours, and so on. Thus, the first, third, fifth, and seventh sets of minima

THE LIGHT OF THE STAKS.

185

obeyed a different law from the second, fourth, Duner proved that two stars sixth, and eighth. revolve round their centre of gravity in less
than three days, alternately occulting each other,
while the ellipticity of the orbit explains the In April 1900 irregularity of the light changes.

Duner gave his final conclusions as follows " The variable star Y Cygni consists of two stars of equal size and equal brightness, which move
:

of gravity in an elliptical orbit, whose major axis is eight times the radius of the stars/' He also stated the

about their

common

centre

exact period of revolution and the eccentricity of the orbit.

In

the
ft

case

of the

short

-

period

variables,

such as
T)

Aquilae,

Lyrae, 8 Cephei, the variations do
It

not

Geminorum, and seem to be
a

due to

eclipse.

was discovered by Professor
Lyrse
is

Pickering that ft binary, but Vogel
the

spectroscopic

and
is

Keeler

showed

that

incompatible with the " I am convinced eclipse theory. Vogel says that ft Lyrse represents a binary or multiple system, the fundamental revolutions of which in

supposed

orbit

:

12 days 22 hours in some
change."

way

control the light
is

The

eclipse

theory, however,

still

maintained by Belopolsky,
hypothesis according to

who has framed a which the chief minimum

186

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

of the star's light corresponds with the obscuration of the lesser star, the lesser minimum with

that of the primary, implying that the primary
is

much
its

less

than

luminous in proportion to its light a state of affairs which Miss satellite,

Clerke concludes to be improbable.

The
binaries

variable stars, 8 Cephei
in

and

T?

Aquilae,

were both found
;

1894 by Belopolsky to be

but as the times of

minimum
of

do not correspond

with

those

light eclipses in

the hypothetical orbits, he concludes that the variations cannot be explained on the eclipsing satellite theory. Miss Clerke is inclined to the

theory that the increase of luminosity in shortperiod variables is due to tidal action, so that
while the revolutions of the stars control their
variability,

they are inherently unstable in
stars are

light.

A

large

number of these

known, and

a remarkable fact that the majority of these variables lie on or near the Galaxy, so that their
it is

variations have probably something to do with their vicinity.

We

now come

which Mira
examples.

to the long-period variables of Orionis are Ceti, x Cygni, and

U

in regular periods, generally of about a year, they are subject to

Although varying

remarkable irregularities, so that an exact period cannot be assigned even to Mira Ceti, of which

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.
the

187

and at others The spectroaccelerated with no apparent law. scopic investigations of Campbell in 1898 have shown that Mira Ceti is a solitary star, while
are at times retarded

maxima

bright lines of hydrogen appear in its spectrum at maximum, showing that the variations are

due to periodical conflagrations
spheres.

in

its

atmo-

other long period variables bright lines have been observed. remarkable fact regarding these stars is the

In

many

-

A

amount of
instance,

their light change.

Mira
to

Ceti, for

varies

from the

first

the

ninth
to

magnitude, and As the twelfth.
longer the

U

Orionis from the sixth

M.

Flammarion
the

says,

"the

Another

remarkable

period the greater fact is that

variation."

their

light

curves show a curious resemblance to the curves
of the solar spots, only on a vastly greater scale, which indicates that, relatively, these long-period
variables are

much

older than our Sun, the small

variations in the light of which are imperceptible.

"Here,

if

anywhere," says Miss Clerke, "will be

found the secret of stellar variability." To the irregular variables no period can be
Betelgeux, in Orion, the variation of which was noted by Sir John Herschel in 1840,
assigned.
is

a typically irregular variable.
of
all

But the most
is
77

extraordinary

variables

Argus,

in

188

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.
is

the southern hemisphere, which

probably a

connecting link between variable and temporary stars. The traveller Burchell, from 1811 to 1815,

observed the star as of the second magnitude, but in 1827 he noted it to be of the first

magnitude. In the following year it fell to the second magnitude. In 1834 Sir John Herschel

noted the star to be between the magnitude, and
in

first

and second
first,

1838

it

rose to the

being
it

After a decline, equal came in 1843 equal to Canopus, and not
inferior to
Sirius.

to a Centauri.

be-

much
and

Then

it

began to

fade,

was only of the sixth magnitude. In 1899 Innes estimated it as 771. Eudolf Wolf suggested a period of 46 years, and Loomis
in

1868

it

67 years but astronomers generally agree with Schonfeld that the star has no regular period.
;

temporary star of the nineteenth century was discovered by Hind, in London,
first

The

April 28, 1848.
at

It

was of the
after

fifth

magnitude

maximum, and soon

falling

began to fade, In 1860 a new to the tenth magnitude.

star appeared in the cluster Messier 80 in Scorpio, and was discovered by Auwers at Konigsberg.
It reached only the seventh magnitude.

the night of May 12, 1866, a new star of the second magnitude blazed out in the constellation

On

Corona Borealis.

It

was

first

observed

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.

189

at Tuam, in Ireland, by the Irish astronomer, John Birmingham. Four hours earlier Schmidt had been observing that part of the heavens, and it was not then visible. Birmingham at

once communicated the discovery to Huggins, at Tulse Hill, who had commenced his spectroscopic observations.

On May
In

served
Clerke,

its

spectrum.
star

16 Huggins obthe words of Miss

showed what was described To the dusky flutings as a double spectrum. third type, four brilliant rays were of Secchi's

"

The

added.

The

chief of these

with

lines of

hydrogen

;

agreed in position so that the immediate

cause of the outburst was plainly perceived to have been the eruption, or ignition, of vast

masses of that subtle kind of matter."

Nine
it

days after the appearance of the new star

was
fell

invisible to the

naked

eye,

and afterwards

In 1856 Schonfeld to the tenth magnitude. had observed it at Bonn as a telescopic star, so that it was not a "new star" in the true
sense of the word.

The next temporary star observed was discovered by Schmidt, at Athens, November 24, It was of the third magnitude, situated 1876. On December 2 in the constellation Cygnus. its spectrum was examined at Paris by Alfred Cornu (1841-1902), and some days later at

190

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.
closely star of 1866, bright
It

Potsdam by Vogel and Lohse.
similar to that of the
lines of

was

new

out in

hydrogen and other elements standing front of an "absorption" spectrum. By

the end of 1876 the star was of the seventh

magnitude. On September 2, 1877, Nova Cygni was observed at Dunecht, and its spectrum was found to have been transformed into that of a

Three years later, however, planetary nebula. the ordinary stellar spectrum reappeared.

A
great

new

star

appeared in the centre of the
in

August 1885. The first announcement of the discovery was by Karl Ernst Albrecht Hartwig (born 1851), who
observed the

nebula

Andromeda

in

new

star

on August 31

;

but

it

had been previously seen by several other obOn September 1 it was of the seventh servers. magnitude, and by March of the following year had fallen to the sixteenth. Observed by Vogel, Young, and Hasselberg, the new star gave a
continuous spectrum, but Huggins and Copeland succeeded in discerning bright lines. Hall, at

Washington, undertook a
detect the parallax of
his efforts

series of

measures to

Nova Andromedse, but

were unsuccessful.

The discovery of the next temporary star was announced February 1, 1892, by the Rev. Thomas

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.

191

D. Anderson, a Scottish amateur astronomer, in
a post-card to the Astronomer-Royal of Scotland. The star was situated in the constellation Auriga.

An examination

of photographs, taken at Harvard showed that the new star had apObservatory, peared December 10, 1891, and had risen to

maximum of the fourth magnitude ten days later. On a photograph taken by Max Wolf on December 8 the new star was not visible.
a

After Anderson's visual discovery, the spectrum of the new star was studied by Copeland,

Huggins, Lockyer, Vogel, Campbell, and others. Bright hydrogen lines were visible in the spectrum, which

appeared to be actually double, giving support to the theory that the outburst was the result of a collision between two dark
bodies

and this was confirmed by the measurements of radial motion by the Potsdam astron;

omers.

After March
faded,
falling

9,

1892, the

new

star steadily

to

the

sixteenth

magnitude on

April 26.

But on August 17 Edward Singelton Holden (born 1846), director of the Lick Observatory, and his assistants, Schaeberle and Campbell,

found

it

of

the

tenth
it

August 19 Barnard found
planetary nebula
:

On magnitude. transformed into a
spectroscopic

while

various

192

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

observations of the revived

Nova

revealed the

nebular
star

lines.

By

the end of 1894 the

new

had faded to the eleventh magnitude, and early in 1901 was observed as a minute nebula.
After 1892 several

new

stars appeared,

and

were detected on photographic plates by Mrs Fleming (born 1857), of Harvard Observatory.

The

first

of these, in the southern constellation
in

Norma, was discovered

1893 by

its

peculiar

spectrum on a Draper spectrographic plate taken But the new star rose only to the at Harvard.
seventh magnitude. covered in Carina

Other new stars were
(Argo)
in

dis-

1895,

in

Cen-

taurus in 1895, in Sagittarius in 1898, and in Nova Sagittarii was, at its Aquila in 1900.
brightest, fully equal to Nova Aurigae, and was plainly visible to the naked eye, but was never

observed visually.
designated blazed out century," in Perseus on the night of February 21, 1901. It was discovered independently by several obappropriately
"

A

temporary

star,

the new

star of the

new

on February 21, by Borisiak, a student on the following morning, at Kiev, in Russia Anderson in Edinburgh and on the next by
servers
:

;

;

evening, by Gore at Dublin, Nordvig in Denmark, Grimmler at Erlangen, and other observers.

When

first

seen by Anderson,

it

was

THE LIGHT OF THE STARS.
equal to Algol,

193

of the second magnitude. photograph by Williams at Brighton showed that it must have been fainter than the twelfth

A

magnitude on February
of February
Capella,

20.

On

the evening

23

the

star

was

brighter

than

and was then the brightest star in the northern hemisphere. On February 25 it fell to the first magnitude on March 1 to the second,
;

and on March 6 to the third. During the spring and summer the light fluctuated considerably, but in September and October faded to the In March 1902 it was of the 6*7 magnitude. eighth magnitude, and in July 1903 of the
twelfth.

The spectrum of Nova Persei was found by
Pickering to be of the Orion type on February 22 and 23. On February 24 the spectrum had become one of the bright and dark lines, and
the hydrogen lines indicated a velocity of 700 to 1000 miles a second. Measures of the sodium

and calcium

lines,

by Campbell and

others, in-

dicated a velocity of only three miles a second, so that the displacements of the hydrogen lines

may have been due
in the star.

to an outburst of hydrogen

The spectrum was carefully studied during the spring and summer by Pickering, On June Lockyer, Huggins, Vogel, and others. 25 Pickering reported that the spectrum was

N

194

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

slowly changing into that of a gaseous nebula. In August and September 1901 the nebular

spectrum became more apparent. In August 1901 Wolf at Heidelberg discovered
a faint trace of nebula near the nova.

On

Sep-

tember

20 this

nebula was

photographed by

George Ritchey at the Yerkes Observatory, and was seen to be of a spiral form. This was confirmed by Perrine,

who

also found,

from plates

taken in November, that the nebula was moving at the rate of eleven minutes of arc a year.
exceedingly puzzling to astronomers, and at length Kapteyn suggested that the nebula shone only by revelocity
flected

This

extraordinary

was

light from the

new

star,

and that the

apparent motion was an illusion caused by the flare of the explosion travelling out from the
nova.

On March

16,

1903,

Herbert Hall Turner

(born 1861), Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, discovered a new star of the seventh magnitude
in the constellation Gemini,

from an examination

of photographic plates. Photographs taken at Harvard showed that on March 1 it must have

been fainter than the twelfth magnitude, while In August five days later it was of the fifth.

1903 Pickering found its spectrum nebular. In August 1905 another small nova was found by

THE LIGHT OF THE STABS.

195
situ-

Mrs Fleming on the Harvard photographs,
ated in Aquila.

Many
for

theories have been advanced to account
stars.

temporary

Flammarion

has shown

that a body surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere, on grazing a dark body enveloped in oxygen, would produce a tremendous explosion.
of

In 1892 Huggins suggested that the outburst Nova Aurigae was due to the near approach of two bodies with large velocities, disturbances
of a tidal nature resulting and producing enormous outbursts. Vogel suggested that the new

was due to the encounter of a dark star a worn - out system of planets while Lockyer believes all new stars to be due to the collision of swarms of meteors. Perhaps the most probable theory is that of Seeliger, which attributes these outbursts to the movement of a dark body through nebulous matter, which is extensively diffused throughout space.
star

with

;

This theory explains the changes in the spectra as well as the revivals of brightness which
characterised

Nova

Aurigse and the fluctations

of

Nova

Persei.

In a paper read to the Royal

November 1904, the German astronomer, Jacobus Halm, of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh in

Observatory, Edinburgh, extended and developed Seeliger's theory, showing also that the necessary

196

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

consequence of such an encounter as the theory assumes is the formation of an atmosphere of
incandescent gases, followed by that of a reIn the hands volving ring of nebulous matter.
of Halm,
therefore,
Seeliger's theory

leads

to

the nebular hypothesis as advanced by Laplace and Herschel.

CHAPTER XL
STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULJE.

THE study
Herschel,
several
since

of

double

stars,

commenced
his

was taken up

after

death

by by

of the foremost

astronomers,

and has

been pursued by quite a number of observers and computers. Herschel's immediate
successor in the study of double stars was his son, who ranks only second to his father as a

student of stellar systems. Born at Slough on March 7, 1792, John Frederick William Herschel
" within the shadow of passed his childhood the great telescope." Although his early life was spent with his father and aunt, astronomy

does not appear to have taken up his attention as a boy. Chemistry, however, always interested him, and, as his aunt recorded, even while

a

child

He
at

he was fond of making experiments. was educated at Hitcham, and afterwards

however, so his mother removed him from school, and he was
Eton.
delicate,

He was

198

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
at

IN ASTRONOMY.

Slough tish mathematician.

trained

by

Mr

At

Rogers, a Scotthe age of seventeen

Herschel entered the University of Cambridge,

and Caroline

Herschel,

who was exceedingly

proud of him, recorded in her memoirs that he gained all the first prizes without exception.

He

the University in 1813. John Herschel did not turn his attention to
left

astronomy until he had attained the age of
twenty-four.
10,

1816,

In a letter to a friend, September he said, "I am going, under my

father's directions, to take

up star-gazing."

It

was only reverence

for his father that

made him

turn to astronomy, and he gave up the science he loved most chemistry. But his unselfishness
received
its

reward.

In

1820 John Herschel

constructed his

first reflector

under

his father's

Four years previously he had begun guidance. to observe double stars, which had been for long
studied

by

his

father,

who

discovered

their

revolutions.

These observations were continued

from 1821 to 1823 at the Observatory of Sir James South (1786-1867). John Herschel and

South measured 380 of the elder Herschel's These investigations gained for double stars. Herschel and South the Lalande Prize of the French Academy and the Gold Medal of the

Royal Astronomical Society.

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULA.

199

When
make an

his

mother died

decided to

sail

John Herschel to the Cape of Good Hope to
Sir

investigation

of

the

stars

of

the

southern hemisphere, which until then had been much neglected. He was offered a free passage
in a ship of war, but declined.

In November

1833 he

left

telescopes.

England, taking with him his great In two months he arrived at Cape
his astronomical instruments
off.

Town, and erected

at Feldhausen, a short distance

In October

1835 he informed his aunt that he had almost
completed his survey of the southern hemisphere. During his "sweeps" of the heavens he discovered

1202

double

stars,

and

1708

nebulae

and

In 1838 he returned to England, and devoted the remainder of his life to the publication of his results, as well as to
star-clusters.

other branches of science.

wood, in Kent, on
seventy-nine. John Herschel's

May

died at Colling11, 1871, at the age of
of

He

were double
in

study which he discovered 3347 the northern hemisphere, and 2102 in the
objects
stars, of

favourite

southern.
orbits
;

He
the

also
first

computed

several

stellar

but

calculation

of a

stellar

orbit

was made by the French astronomer Felix Savary (1797-1841), who computed the orbit of f Ursae Majoris, and found the period to be

200

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

about sixty years. Contemporary with John Herschel was his great rival in double - star
astronomy, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve. Born at Altona in 1793, Struve took his degree
in 1811 at the Russian

became Observatory, and was in 1839 promoted to Pulkowa, as director of the great Observatory there, remaining at its head until within three
In 1813 he
years of

University of Dorpat. director of the Dorpat

November 23, 1864. Struve's first recorded observation was on the double star Castor. In 1819 he commenced to
his

death,

on

measure the position-angles of double stars, of In which he published a catalogue of 795.
1825 he commenced a review of the heavens

down
results

to

fifteen

degrees

south,

and thus
objects.
'

dis-

covered 2200 previously

unknown

The

were published in Struve's Mensurae which appeared in 1836, giving Merometricae,'
the places,
distances,
colours,

position

-

angles,

and

relative brilliance of

3112 double and mul-

tiple stars.

Struve's successor in this branch of astronomy

was
to

Otto Wilhelm von Struve, born in 1819 at Dorpat, who became in 1837 assistant
his son,
his

and in 1861 succeeded him as In 1890 director of the Pulkowa Observatory.
father,

he retired from this post, settling in Germany,

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULJS.

201

at Carlsruhe, where, on April 14, 1905, he died in his eighty-sixth year. Otto Struve detected

500 double

stars,

among them y Andromedse,

discovered in
in

1842, and 8 Equulei, discovered 1852, within a period of between five and

eleven years. Various other astronomers have devoted them-

among them Ercole DembowsJci (1815-1881), of Milan; Karl Hermann Struve (born 1854), son of
Struve; William Doberck (born 1845); William J. Hussey (born 1864), now director of the Detroit Observatory; Camille Flammarion; N. C. Duner; G. V. Schiaparelli Thomas

selves to the observation of double stars,

Otto

;

Jefferson Jackson

See (born
is

1866).

But the
at

greatest living discoverer

Sherburne Wesley
the
in
his

Burnham
Yerkes

(born

1838),
in

now employed
Wisconsin.

Born 1838 at Thetford, Vermont, he commenced
Observatory,

career as a shorthand reporter, studying astronomy in his leisure hours. With a small 6-inch
refractor,

atory,

mounted in a home-made Burnham commenced in 1871
stars,

observhis
dis-

coveries of double

which soon attracted

the attention of noted astronomers, who permitted him to use larger telescopes, with which

he continued his researches.

His

first

official

appointment

was

in

1888,

when he became

202

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

chief assistant at the Lick Observatory, which Some years later position he resigned in 1892.

he became astronomer in the Yerkes ObservaAltogether he has discovered 1308 double with telescopes ranging from a 6 - inch stars, refractor to the gigantic 40 -inch of the Yerkes
tory.

Observatory.

The computation of double-star orbits has been undertaken by various astronomers, among them
Madler, Klinkerfues, Duner, Flammarion, Seeliger, See, Gore, Burnham, Robert Grant Aitken (born

1864) of the Lick Observatory, and Giovanni Celoria (born 1842), who was, from 1866 to
1900,
assistant
in

the

Brera

Observatory

of

Milan, and since 1900 director of that institution. On June 9, 1890, Gore presented to the

Royal

a catalogue of computed binaries containing reference to fifty-nine stars. In 1844 Bessel discovered a remarkable irregIrish

Academy

He proper motion of Sirius. ascribed this to the gravitational influence of
ularity
in

the

some obscure body, probably a large In 1857 Peters calculated an orbit
supposed In 1861 an
satellite

satellite.

for

the

with a period of 50 years.

orbit

was computed by Truman

(1836-1901), which indicated the Close to this position position of the satellite. it was accidentally discovered by Alvan Clark

Henry Safford

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULAE.
(1832-1897),
years.

203
optician.

the

famous

American

The period of the

star seems to be about

50

In 1844 Bessel noticed irregularities in the proper motion of Procyon, and put forward
the idea of a disturbing satellite, as in the case of Sirius. This was confirmed by Madler, and
in 1874

found

an orbit was computed by Auwers, who a period of 40 years. In 1896 the

satellite

was

found

by

Schaeberle

with

the

36-inch refractor of the Lick Observatory. period of 40 years was found by See,

A
in

agreement with the hypothetical orbit. In putting forward these theories as to
visible
stellar
is

in-

satellites,

Bessel remarked

that

"light the existence of countless visible stars

no real property of mass," and that
is

nothing

against the existence of countless invisible and dark ones. In this he laid the foundation of

the branch " the

of

science

termed by Madler the
In recent years invisible has become

Astronomy

of the invisible."

astronomy of the a recognised branch of astronomical research, through the application and interpretation of
Doppler's principle in spectroscopic observations. In the course of photographing the stellar
spectra for the Draper Catalogue, E. C. Pickering photographed the spectrum of Mizar
(

Ursae Majoris) in 1887 and again in 1889.

On

204

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

some of these photographs the line K was seen double, while on others it was seen under its normal aspect. This doubling of the lines
indicated that the star which
is

composed of two round their centre of gravity, so close together that even the largest telescopes cannot
in reality

see as single bodies in revolu-

we

tion

Pickering assigned a period of 104 days, but in 1901 Vogel diminished this to 20 days. In the same year the star
divide

them.

ft

Aurigae was similarly found to be double
in

;

and
at

1890
of of

Vogel,

from photographs

taken
the

Potsdam,

independently

discovery

spectrum
lines

spectroscopic Spica he discovered

inaugurated In binaries.

the

the spectral

not doubled, but periodically displaced, indicating the existence of a dark or nearly dark companion, both stars revolving
to be,

round their centre of gravity. Spica was seen to belong to the same class as Algol, only that
Algol the plane of the satellite's orbit passes through the Earth and eclipses the star, while in the case of Spica the orbit is
in the case of

inclined,

and the

star

is

constant in light.

commenced by Vogel and Pickering was soon followed up by these investigators, as well as by Belopolsky at Pulkowa,
The
line of research

Campbell at the Lick Observatory, Slipher at

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULAE.

205

the Lowell Observatory, and by Edwin Brant Frost (born 1866), now director of the Yerkes

Observatory, and his assistant, Walter Adams. In 1894 Belopolsky discovered the duplicity of several variable stars, and in 1896 that of Castor,
in Gemini.

Late in 1896 Campbell undertook a

systematic investigation of radial motions, and has since discovered about sixty spectroscopic
binaries,

among them,
1900 Capella.

in

1899, the Pole Star,
latter discovery

was made independently by Hugh Frank Newall It was (born 1857) at Cambridge, in England.
and
in

The

found by Campbell that the revolution of the stars round their centre of gravity is performed
in

104

days
of

;

and

it

soon

became
be

that,

owing to the large

size of the orbit,

apparent the
tele-

duplicity
scopically.

Capella might

observed
star

At Greenwich the

was seen

to be elongated, but at the
it

Lick Observatory

was seen persistently single. Campbell finds that of 285 stars observed by him, more than one in nine is a spectroscopic

He concludes that at least one star in binary. five or six will be found to be spectroscopically " the proven existence double, and considers that
of so large a
stellar systems, differing so widely in structure from the Solar System, gives rise to a suspicion at least that our

number of

206

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
is

IN ASTRONOMY.

system

not of the prevailing type of stellar

systems."

The study of

triple

and multiple

stars

is

of

deep interest, but the orbits of these objects cannot be said to be fully investigated by any
means.

The

first

application of the problem of

three bodies to stellar astronomy was made by His researches, relating to Seeliger in 1889.

the famous star, Cancri, disclosed the existof three stars revolving round a dark body, ence apparently the most massive in the system.

The system of

Cancri, at least, seems to be

modelled on the Ptolemaic design. In the study of star-clusters and nebulae, as in the investigation of double stars, Herschel's

was his son. His observations, both in England and at the Cape of Good Hope, resulted in a large number of new discoveries, and the results of his studies in this direction were
successor

published in 1864 in his catalogue of
clusters

all

known

and nebulae, amounting to 5079. This catalogue was enlarged and revised in 1888 by John Louis Emil Dreyer (born 1852), a Danish
astronomer, but director of the Observatory at Armagh, in Ireland ; and the same observer

published from 1888 to 1894 a supplementary list, bringing the number of known clusters and
nebulae to about 10,000.

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULJE.

207

In the early part of his career, John Herschel held firmly to the views of his father of the

between star-clusters and nebulae, considering the latter to be composed of "shining fluid." But he fell off from this view with the
difference

resolution into stars of

many

irresolvable nebulae.

In 1845 William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse
(1800-1867), erected at Birr Castle, in Ireland,

which still surpasses With this other telescopes in point of size. instrument Lord Rosse believed himself to have
his great 6 -foot reflector,
all

resolved

the
in

Crab nebula

in

Taurus and the
also said to

Nebula

Orion, which

was

have

been resolved by Bond with the 15 -inch refractor at Harvard; and in 1854 Olmsted declared the
"resolution" of these nebulae to be the signal for the renunciation of Herschel's nebular theory.

Most astronomers

fell

in

with the view that

all

the nebulae were distant clusters, which would eventually be resolved into stars, although it is

only right to state that the Scottish astronomer, John Pringle Nichol (1804-1859), and some other
investigators, held to the theory of Herschel. The solution of the great problem was in 1864,

when on August 29
his spectroscope

of that year Huggins turned

on a bright planetary nebula in

Draco.

To

his

amazement the spectrum was
proving conclusively that the

one of bright

lines,

208

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

nebula was not a star-cluster, but a mass of glowing gas, hydrogen, and some other unknown
substance,

now named "nebulium."
Of
these

By

1868

Huggins had observed the spectra of seventy
proved to be gaseous, among them the great Orion nebula which Lord Rosse was believed to have resolved
nebulse.

one

-

third

In the spectrum of the latter, the into stars. " " was at first ascribed by chief nebular line

Huggins to nitrogen, but this was a mistake. Later, it was believed by Lockyer to coincide with the fluting of magnesium, but this was disproved by Huggins in 1889-90, and by The great nebula in Keeler in 1890-91. Andromeda and the great spiral in Canes Venatici were found by Huggins to display a continuous spectrum, and a similar discovery was made in regard to the cluster 13 in In the case Hercules, and other star-clusters.

M

of the nebulae,

it is

not believed that the con-

tinuous spectrum is due to the existence of sunlike bodies, as a gas under pressure would give a continuous spectrum.

The Orion nebula has been more thoroughly The studied than any other object of its class.
application of photography to spectroscopy has done much to further the study of the lines in

the nebular spectrum.

In 1886 Copeland de-

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULA.

209

tected in the spectrum of the Orion nebula the On February 13, 1890, yellow ray of helium.

important discovery, namely, the possession by both the nebula and the stars in Orion with the exception of Betelgeux of a line, which appeared bright in the
nebular spectra and dark in the
line
stellar.

Scheiner

announced

an

This

was

identified

by Vogel, Lockyer, and others
in

with that of helium.

Nebular photography was inaugurated

1880

by Draper, who obtained a

remarkably good

representation of the Orion nebula in that year. His work in this direction, cut short by his

death in 1882, was taken up by Janssen

at

Meudon,

and

by Common

in

England, who

obtained, in 1883, several excellent photographs.

Later photographs have shown the Orion nebula to be much more extended than visual observations

would lead one to expect.

A

photograph

secured in 1890 by W. H. Pickering revealed the nebulous matter in Orion in its true form,

a gigantic spiral, starting from near Bella trix, sweeping past K Orionis and Rigel to that of
17,

and joining with the great nebula surrounding 0; the entire constellation being thus shown to

be enwrapped in nebulous haze. In 1885 nebular photography was commenced

by

Isaac

Roberts

(1829

-

1904),

the

English

210

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
astronomer,
of
in

IN ASTRONOMY.
secured

amateur

who

admirable

representations

clusters

and

nebulae.

He

published, collected photographs

1893 and 1900, two volumes of
of clusters and nebulae.

This monumental work was thus referred to by Dr William James Lockyer " Dr Roberts has
:

not

only nobly enriched astronomical science, but has raised a monument to himself which
will last as long as

astronomy has any interest

for

mankind."

Perhaps the most remarkable revelation made by photography in this branch of research has
been
ence
the
discovery
of

the

nebulae

in

the

Pleiades.

an

In 1859 Tempel observed at Florelliptical nebula south of the star

Merope.
Pleiades,
spiral

On November

16,

1885, the brothers

Henry obtained
nebula.

at Paris a photograph of the revealing the existence of a small

confirmed by visual observations, and particularly by the photographs of Roberts, which also showed the entire " the nebulosity cluster to be nebulous, and that

This was

extends in streamers and fleecy masses, till it seems almost to fill the spaces between the stars,

In 1888 a beyond them." further advance was made by the brothers Henry, who found seven stars to be strung on
far

and to extend

a nebulous streak.

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULJS.
Since

211

1890

nebular

photography

has

been

pursued by Max Wolf in Germany, and by E. E. Barnard and J. E. Keeler in America.

Wolf's photographs of the constellation Cygnus brought out the close connection between the
stars

and the extensively

diffused

nebulosities

In 1901 Wolf discovered discovered by him. " " a nebelhaufen or cluster of nebulse, and in

1902

published

a

catalogue

of

1528

nebulae

round the pole of the Galaxy, showing them to be systematically distributed. Keeler made
his

memorable
in

observations

with

the

36 -inch
structed

reflecting

telescope, which

was

great con-

England

many

years

Common.
of

It afterwards passed into the

ago by hands

Mr

Crossley of Halifax,

the Lick Observatory. ment Keeler commenced
of the

who presented it to With this great instruto

heavens.

On

one

take photographs occasion he photo-

graphed a well-known nebula, and on developing the plate was surprised to find seven new
nebulae besides that which he

had photographed.

another occasion he exposed a plate to a He was amazed to find nebula in Pegasus.
altogether twenty -one nebulae

On

included in the
instance, a plate

photograph.

To give another
constellation

directed to the

Andromeda

con-

tained no fewer than thirty-two nebulous objects.

212

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

This has given an enormous extension to our knowledge of the nebulae. But even this is not

Keeler found on his plates numerous points of light which seem to be also nebulae, either too
all.

small or too remote to appear as such. ApparKeeler's ently, however, they are not stars.

work convinced him that, on a modest estimate, there must be at least one hundred and twenty
thousand

new

nebulae

within

reach

of

the

Crossley reflector.

Half of

these, he announced,

were probably

spiral.

An

idea

of

the

vast

importance of Keeler's work may be gained if we reflect that the observations of all the earlier
discovery of six thousand nebulae. The investigations of Keeler, in all probability, were the means of adding 120,000 more.
in

astronomers

resulted

the

Many
for

observations have been
of

made on
their

nebulae,

the

motions

purpose ascertaining proper but without success. Measurements

were made by D' Arrest in 1857 and by Burnham in 1891, but none of these revealed any
motion of the nebulae across the
line of sight.

Even the new

spectroscopic

method of

deter-

mining motions in the line of sight, in the hands of Huggins, failed in the case of the nebulae.

With the
Keeler

great Lick refractor at his disposal, attacked the subject in 1890, and

STELLAR SYSTEMS AND NEBULAE.

213
nebulae.

measured the radial

velocities

of ten

found that the well-known planetary nebula in Draco was moving towards the Solar System
at

He

the

rate

of

40

miles

a

second;

for

the

Orion nebula he found a motion of recession of
11 miles a second;
chiefly to the

but probably this belongs
in

movement of the Solar System

the opposite direction. Unfortunately Keeler did not live to carry on his investigations in nebular astronomy. His
early death
fruitful

brought to an abrupt

end these

Appointed director of investigations. the Lick Observatory in 1898, he died suddenly
at

San Francisco on August

12,

1900, at the

early age of forty-two.

CHAPTEE

XII.

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION AND THE STRUCTURE
OF THE UNIVERSE.

AFTER the death
done

of Herschel there was

little

in the direction of furthering our

knowledge
im-

of stellar distribution, or the construction of the heavens.

Here,

as

elsewhere,

Herschel's

mediate successor was his son, whose star-gauges,

both in England and in South Africa, were a worthy sequel to those of his father but John
;

Herschel, in his books on astronomy, reproduced his father's disc-theory, unaware that the elder

Herschel had himself abandoned

it.

The work of

the younger Herschel was entirely supplementary to that of his father.

To Wilhelm Struve belongs the

credit

of

showing the disc-theory to be untenable, and of demonstrating that Herschel had abandoned it.
This

he was

able

to

do

after

a

perusal

of

Herschel's
Herschel.

presented to him by John Having demonstrated this, he underpapers,

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.

215

took a series of investigations which resulted in This was his famous theory of the Universe.
published
Stellaire,'

work 'Etudes d'Astronomie His which was published in 1847.
in

his

researches were based on the star-catalogues of and dealing with Bessel, Piazzi, and others
;

52,199 stars, he discussed the number of stars in each zone of Right Ascension. He found,
in the

words of

Mr
i

Gore,
to

"

that the numbers
vi,

increase

from hour

hour

where they
to a

attain a

maximum.
at hour

They then diminish
and
rise to

minimum
smaller

xiii,

another but

maximum at hour xviii, again decreasa second minimum at hour xxii. As the ing to hours vi and xviii are those crossed by the
Milky Way,
very significant." concluded the Galaxy to be produced by a collection of irregularly-condensed clusters, the
the
result
is

He

condensed in parallel planes. Next, he considered the Universe as perhaps infinitely extended in the direction of the Galaxy, and
stars

accordingly he put forward the idea that the light from the fainter and more distant stars

was extinguished
ether
of space,

in

its

passage through

the

which he regarded as imperThe theory, as Struve profectly transparent. pounded it, was disposed of by Sir John Herschel,

who remarked

that

we were not permitted

to

216

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

one part of the sky our view was limited by extinction, while at another a clear view right through the Galaxy could be
believe that at

had

and by Robert Grant (1814-1892), director of the Glasgow Observatory, who showed that, were the theory true, the Galaxy should present
;

a

uniform

appearance

throughout
as

its

course.

On

the whole, Struve's theory was no improve;

ment on Herschel's Struve's theory was
all

for,

Encke pointed
five

out,

assumptions, of which were questionable. At the time of Struve's investigation Madler,

built

on

at Dorpat,

was engaged

in

an attempt

to solve

the question of the construction of the heavens by quite another method, that of stellar proper

determined to investigate the subject of proper motion in order to discover the If such a central body of the Milky Way.
motion.
centre
existed,

He

however,

the

motions

near

it

would be somewhat

different from those in the

In our Solar System the planets Solar System. nearest the Sun move swiftest, owing to the

In the strength of the force of gravitation. Sidereal System, on the other hand, the move-

ments at the centre, as Madler pointed out, would be slowest. As there would be no very large preponderating body, the mutual attractions of the different stars would cause the bodies

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.
at the boundaries of the Universe to

217

move

faster

than those at the centre, the central sun

the

object of Madler's search being in a state of rest relative to the Sidereal System. Madler

accordingly began to search the heavens for a region of sluggish proper motions. In the constellation Taurus, Madler noticed

that the proper motions of the stars were very slow. The idea occurred to him that the bright red star Aldebaran might be the central sun,

but

very large proper motion was obviously Star after star was now against this inference. Madler to the most careful scrutiny. subjected by
its

At

length,

after

a laborious

investigation,
fulfilled

he

announced that the star which
ditions

the con-

of

a

central

body was Alcyone, the

brightest of the Pleiades, a group possessed of no proper motion except that due to the sun's
drift in the opposite direction.

In 1846 Madler

published his hypothesis in his elaborate work, 'The Central Sun/ He announced that his
observations had led him to the conclusion that

Alcyone occupied the centre of gravity of the Sidereal System, and was the point round which
the stars of the Galaxy were
all

revolving.

His

profound imagination, however, did not stop here. This speculation led him to the sublime

thought that the centre of the Universe was

218

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

the Abode of the Creator.

In 1847 Struve re-

" much too hazardous," jected Madler's theory as and this has been the general opinion of astronomers. Madler's theory is now regarded as

quite untenable. Herschel's earlier idea that the nebulae were

external galaxies was long held by the majority of astronomers, in preference to his later and

more advanced

ideas.

The supposed

resolution

of the nebulae by Lord Bosse's telescope gave support to this external galaxy theory. It was
clearly

shown, however, by
1853, and

William

Whewell

(1794-1866) in

by Herbert Spencer

(1820-1903) in 1858, that the systematic distribution of the nebulae in regard to the stars precluded the possibility of their being external
galaxies.

This was confirmed by the spectroscopic discovery of the gaseous nature of some of the nebulae, and by the later researches of

R. A. Proctor.
discoveries,

Not only did Proctor make fresh but it fell to him to clear away the

erroneous ideas regarding the construction of the heavens, and to put the study on a new basis.

In 1870 Proctor plotted on a single chart all the stars, to the number of 324,198, contained
in Argelander's
'
'

Durchmusterung
to the
"

charts.

This

work gave the death-blow
In his own words,

"
disc-theory."

In the very regions where

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.
the

219

gauges showed the minutest telescopic stars to be most crowded, my chart of 324,198 stars shows the stars of the higher
Herschelian
orders (down to the eleventh magnitude) to be so crowded, that by their mere aggregation

within the mass they show the Milky Way with streams and clusterings. It is utterly impossible that excessively remote stars could seem
all its

to

be clustered

exactly where relatively near
all

stars

were richly spread."

probability the composing the nebulous light of the Galaxy are much smaller than the brighter stars, and
stars

Proctor showed also that in

not at such a great distance as their faintness would lead us to suppose, a conclusion confirmed

by the work of

Celoria.

Proctor was not so forin direct investigation.

tunate in theorising as

the Magellanic clouds were thought probably external galaxies and further, he put forward the idea that the Milky Way is a spiral,
that
;

He

the gaps and coal- sacks being due to loops in the stream, but neither of these ideas has found favour with astronomers. But the chief work

accomplished by Proctor was a revision of our knowledge of the Universe, which he thus
describes
"
:

Within one and the same region

coexist stars of

many

the greatest

being

orders of real magnitude, thousands of times larger

220

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
least.

IN ASTRONOMY.

than the

All the nebulae hitherto dis-

covered, whether gaseous and stellar, irregular, planetary, ring -formed, or elliptic, exist within

the limits of the Sidereal System." Proctor's discovery of the excess of bright stars on the Galaxy was confirmed by Jean CJiarles

Houzeau (1820-1888), director of the Brussels Some time later J. E. Gore careObservatory.
examined the positions of all the brighter stars in the northern and southern hemisphere.
fully

Following
stars
in

this,

he made an enumeration of the
the outcome of the in-

the atlas of Heis and in the charts
;

constructed by Harding

vestigation being to show that stars of each individual magnitude taken separately tend to aggregate on the Galaxy, the aggregation being

noticed

even in

first

-

magnitude

stars.

Gore

further pointed out many cases of close connection between the lucid stars and the galactic
light.

by work on the catalogue of Gould and the photo-

similar investigation was undertaken Schiaparelli in 1889. Schiaparelli, basing his

A

metric measures of Pickering, constructed a series of planispheres which demonstrated the crowding of the lucid stars towards the plane of the Galaxy. These investigations were still further

continued by Simon Newcomb, who demonstrated " that the darker regions of the Galaxy are only

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.
slightly richer in stars visible to the

221

naked eye

than other parts of the heavens, while the bright areas are between 60 and 100 per cent richer than the dark areas." The Dutch astronomer,
Charles Easton, finds a connection between the of ninth -magnitude stars and the luminous and obscure spots in the Galaxy.
distribution
It

was noticed by Gould, from observations
at

made
bright

Cordova, that

"

a belt or stream of

appears girdle the heavens very nearly in a great circle which intersects the Milky Way." According to Gould, the
stars

to

belt

includes Orion, Canis Major, Argo, Crux,

Centaurus, Lupus, and Scorpio in the southern

hemisphere,

and

Taurus,

Perseus,

Cassiopeia,

Cepheus, Cygnus, and Lyra in the northern. This was interpreted by Celoria as indicating the existence of two galactic rings, but Gould
considered the zone of bright stars to form with the Sun a subordinate cluster of about five

hundred

stars within the Galaxy.

Perhaps the most elaborate investigations on the structure of the Universe have been those
of Kapteyn,

commenced
that

in 1891.

In that year
bluer

he

demonstrated
easily

stars

are

and

more

photographed in the Galaxy than

elsewhere, a discovery independently Gill at the Cape, and Pickering

made by
at

Har-

222
vard.

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
In

IN ASTRONOMY.

clusions,

derived

1893 Kapteyn announced his confrom a novel method of

studying the distance of the stars from their proper motions. In order to reach a definite
idea of the distances of the stars, he

made use

of the component of the proper motion, measured at right angles to a great circle of the sphere which passes- through a given star and

He found that the apex of the solar motion. stars of the first spectral type have smaller
proper motions than those of the second, indicating that stars of the second type are on the

average nearer to the Solar System than those of the first, the near vicinity containing almost
exclusively

second

-

type

stars.

Kapteyn con-

cluded

that the

group

of second

type

stars

formed one system, named the solar cluster, which he considered to be roughly spherical in In 1902 he abandoned this idea, retainshape.
ing,

distances

however, his opinions as to the relative of the different types. That the

second -type stars are nearer to the Sun than
the
first
is,

he remarked in a

letter

to

the

writer, incontrovertible.

In the investigation of the motions
extent
of,

in,

and

the

Universe,

the

name

of Simon

Newcomb

stands out pre-eminently.

1835 at Wallace, in Nova Scotia,

Born in he went to

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.
the States in 1853.

223

In 1862 he received an

appointment at Washington Observatory, and he retained an official position until 1897. Throughout his scientific career he has been specially attracted by the question of the construction of
heavens, which he fully discussed in his Newcomb's inbook on 'The Stars' in 1901.

the

vestigations have shown that are not permanent members

some of the
of

stars

the

Sidereal

System, among them the swiftly -moving 1830 He has shown that the Stellar Groombridge.

Universe does not possess that form of stability which is seen in the Solar System. Newcomb
considers the Universe to be limited in extent,
as opposed to the opinions of Struve and others, who believed it to be infinite. He has brought
clearly before his readers a calculation, based

on

the

known law
stars of

that there are three times as

any given magnitude as of that immediately brighter, the increase of number

many

compensating for the decrease of brilliance. Were the Universe infinitely extended, the whole
heavens would shine with the brilliance of the
Sun.

Newcomb,

therefore, concludes that

"

that

collection of stars
is

which we
this

call

the Universe
the case was
director of

limited in extent."

Positive evidence that

is

obtained by Giovanni Celoria,

now

224

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

the Milan Observatory, in the course of a series of star-gauges at the north galactic pole. Using a small refractor, showing stars barely to the

magnitude, he found he could see exactly the same number of stars as Herschel's
eleventh
large reflector, indicating that increase of optical power will not increase the number of stars
visible in that direction.

Celoria's observation

can only be explained on the assumption that the Universe is limited in extent, as otherwise
Herschel's
stars

telescope

should

have shown more

than

of light, and others have

Celoria's, even granting an extinction a theory which Newcomb, Schiaparelli,

shown
is

That the Universe
all
is

to be quite untenable. limited in extent is about

that although even this has been called in question, notably by E. W. Maunder and H. H. Turner. The problem of
for certain,

known

the construction of the heavens
solved,

is

by no means
less

although several more or

probable

theories have been advanced.

of investigations on stellar distribution, from 1884 to 1898, led Hugo Seeliger,
series

A

some remarkable deductions. He believes the Universe to be flattened at the galactic poles. The Galaxy is the zone of stellar condensation, and he concludes the distance of the Solar System
director

of the

Munich Observatory,

to

STELLAR DISTRIBUTION.

225

from the inner border of the zone to be 500
times the distance of Sirius, while the external

border
verse

is

1100 times that distance.
finite

The UniIn

is

in extent, its limits being about

9000 light years from the Solar System.

Seeliger's opinion the extinction of light may come into play beyond our Universe, and prevent us seeing other collections of stars.

The question of external universes
hypothetical one, although there
is

is

purely a

much

to be said in its favour.

undoubtedly These universes

have never been seen, and we can only speculate as to their existence. The last word on the
subject
is

by Gore,

in

1893,

in

his

elaborate

work,
Solar

*

The

Visible Universe/

He

regards the

System as a system of the first order, and the Galaxy and its fellow-universes of the second. He makes a calculation of the possible distance of an external universe of his second
order.

He

assumes the distance of the nearest
our

universe from

Galaxy as proportional to

separating the Sun from a Centauri, and reaches the amazing conclusion that the distance of the nearest Galaxy is no less than

that

520,149,600,000,000,000,000 miles,

a distance

which

light,

with
a

its

inconceivable velocity of

186,000

miles

second,

would

take

almost

ninety millions of years to traverse. p

226

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

These calculations absolutely overwhelm the mind, which is unable to comprehend such vast
distances.

Our universe
it,

is

indeed, as

expresses
culations

a point in the
E.

infinite.

Flammarion The cal-

Gore represent our highest scientific conception of the universe. He sums up his investigations with the following words
of J.
:

Although we must consider the number stars as strictly finite, the numbers of stars and systems really existing, but invisible
of
visible

"

to

us,

may

be practically

infinite.

Could we

speed our flight through space on angel wings beyond the confines of our limited universe to
great that the interval which separates us from the remotest fixed star might be considered as merely a step on our celestial

a distance

so

journey, what further creations might not then be revealed to our wondering vision ? Systems
of a higher order might there be unfolded to our view, compared with which the whole of

our visible heavens might appear like a grain of sand on the ocean shore, systems perhaps out to infinity before us, and reachstretching

mansions glorious Almighty, the Throne of the Eternal."
ing
at
last

the

*

'

of

the

CHAPTER

XIII.

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.
IN the second chapter we outlined the nebular

Some hypothesis as propounded by Herschel. time earlier the French mathematician, Laplace,
had put forward
his theory of the evolution of

the Solar System. Pierre Simon Laplace was born at Beaumont- en -Auge, near Honfleur, in 1749, and was educated in the Military School
of his native town.

In 1767 he became Assist-

Mathematics at Beaumont, and some years later at the Military School in Paris, which position he retained for many
ant
Professor
of
years.

Member

of the Institute and Minister

of the Interior under Napoleon, he

was created

a Marquis by Louis XVIII., and died at Arcuile

on March
'

5,

1827.

In the last chapter of his popular work, the Systeme du Monde/ Laplace put forward his

nebular theory "with that distrust which everything ought to inspire that is not the result of

228

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS
or
calculation."

IN ASTRONOMY.

observation

Laplace

noticed

that in the Solar System all the planets revolved round the Sun in the same direction,

and that the satellites of the planets obeyed the same law. He also observed that the Sun, Moon, and planets rotated on their axes in the same direction as also that the they revolved round the Sun moved round the Sun, and the satellites planets round their primaries, in almost the same plane
from west to
east,
;

as the Earth's orbit, the plane of the ecliptic. It was evident that these remarkable congruities

were not the result of chance, and accordingly Laplace expressed his belief that the Solar System originated from a great nebula, which
in

condensing

detached

various

rings

in

the

These rings condensed into process of rotation. the various planets and their satellites.
Laplace's theory was powerfully supported by Herschel's observations of the various nebulae
in the heavens.

But, with the supposed resoluof the various nebulae after the erection of tion

the

Rosse reflector
the

in

1845,

the

evidence in
to

favour of

nebular

theory

seemed

be

In 1864, however, the disgreatly reduced. covery of the gaseous nebulae, by means of the
spectroscope, gave further support to the theory. Powerful aid was lent to the nebular hypoth-

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.
esis

229

by the famous German physicist, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894),
in 1854, in his theory of the

maintenance of the

Sun's heat.

Many

theories
for

had been already
After the dis-

advanced to account

this.

covery of the conservation of energy, Julius Robert Mayer, one of the discoverers, put

forward the theory that the Solar heat was sustained by the inflow of meteorites from space,

and

was developed in 1854 by Sir William Thomson, now Lord Kelvin (born 1824), but it was soon apparent that the
this

idea

supply of meteors required to sustain the Solar heat was such as would have increased the

mass of the Sun very considerably. Accordingly the hypothesis was partially abandoned, and was succeeded by that of Helmholtz, who
pointed out that the radiation of the Sun's heat was the result of its contraction through
cooling.

The

rate

was then estimated

at 380

feet yearly,

or a second of arc in 6000 years. This theory was at once generally accepted. It assumes the Sun to be still contracting, and

on going backwards in imagination, we reach a period when the Sun must have
therefore,

been

much

larger

than

now,

and,

in

fact,

extended beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Several objections to Laplace's nebular theory

230

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

were urged by various investigators.

Among

these was the retrograde motions of the satellites of Uranus and Neptune, and the extremly rapid revolution of the inner satellite of Mars. Other
objections were urged by Babinet, Kirkwood, and others, and at length a sweeping reform of the

nebular theory was proposed by Faye in 1884,
in his work,
'

Sur 1'Origine du Monde/
all

Faye put

forward the idea that
nebula, while

the planets interior to the orbit of Uranus were formed inside the

solar

Uranus and Neptune came

into existence after the development of the Sun was far advanced. But the objections to Faye's

theory are formidable, and the hypothesis has not been accepted.

A
was

popular exposition of the nebular theory given in 1901 in Ball's work on 'The

Earth's Beginning/ He exhaustively discusses the whole question, and explains the retrograde motion of the satellites of Uranus and Neptune
as due to the fact that the planes of the orbits of the satellites will eventually be brought to

coincide with the ecliptic.
Ball,

These motions, says
"

do not disprove the nebular theory.

They

rather illustrate the fact that the great evolution which has wrought the Solar System into
its

present form has not finished
in progress."

its

work

:

it

is still

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.

231

The theory that the Sun's heat was maintained by meteors, was extended by Proctor in 1870 to explain the growth of the planets
through meteoric aggregation as well as nebular
Certainly the theory, as developed by Proctor, accounted fairly well for the various features of the Solar System but the highest
condensation.
;

development of the meteoritic theory is due to Lockyer, who published his views in 1890, in
his work,
*

The Meteoritic Hypothesis.'

Lockyer

claims

that his views are merely extensions of Schiaparelli's ideas regarding the concentration
celestial

of

matter.

He

considered the chief

nebular line to be identical with the remnant
of the

magnesium fluting, which is conspicuous in cometic and meteoric spectra but Huggins and Keeler, with more powerful instruments,
;

disproved
celestial

the

supposed
"
all

coincidence.

Lockyer

considers that

self-luminous bodies in the

space are composed either of swarms of meteorites or of masses of meteoric vapour

brought about by the condensation of meteor swarms, due to gravity, the vapour being finally condensed into
produced by heat.
is

The heat

a solid globe." Lockyer divided the stars into seven groups, according to temperature, the order of evolution

being from red stars through a division of second-

232

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

type stars to Sirian stars, regarded as the hottest stars through a second division of solar stars
;

to fourth-type stars. In fact, the theory aspires to give a complete explanation of all celestial phenomena, from meteors to nebulae. Newcomb,

that the objections to the theory are insuperable, and his opinion is shared by the majority of astronomers, many of whom,

however, considers

however, consider that there are elements of truth in the theory but Lockyer undoubtedly carried his ideas to an extravagant extent.
;

Lockyer's evolutionary order of the stars is not supported by Vogel. Zollner suggested in 1865 that yellow and red stars are simply white stars in a further stage of cooling but Angstrom
;

showed that atmospheric composition
criterion of age
tion, first

is

a safer

than

colour.

Vogel's classifica-

published in 1874,

and further developed

from the standpoint of evolution. He considers Orion stars and Sirian stars to be the
in 1895, is

Solar stars are considered by youngest orbs. Vogel to have wasted much of their store of
radiation,

and red

stars are

viewed as " effete

suns, hastening rapidly down the road to final extinction." He considers stars of Secchi's fourth

type to be also dying suns, both types representing alternative roads for stars of the Solar type in their decline into dark stars. This view is

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.

233

supported by Duner, and is distinctly confirmed by Hale's observations with the Yerkes telescope.
Vogel's views, in fact, are generally accepted among astronomers. The nebular theory, modified

by subsequent
its

research, seems destined to
all

hold

own

against

attacks.

Distinctly supplementary to the nebular theory are the remarkable researches, commenced in

George Howard Darwin (born 1845), son of Charles Darwin the great biologist. George Howard Darwin was born in 1845, at
1879,

by

Sir

Kent, was educated at Cambridge, and studied for the law; but in 1873 he returned to
in

Downe

Cambridge, where he became Plumian Professor of Astronomy in 1883. In 1879 he communicated to the Royal Society the first of his papers on
tidal friction,

which were summed up in his book
1898.

on 'The Tides/ published in

He

finds

that the tides act upon the Earth as a brake does upon a machine, they tend to retard its
rotation.

Consequently,

the

longer, the Moon's orbit is and its period of revolution is being lengthened.

day is growing becoming enlarged,

present the day is about twenty-four hours long, and the month about twenty-seven days. The day, however, will be lengthened at a more
rapid rate than the month, and in the remote future the day and month will both last fifty-five

At

234

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

of our present days. The Moon will revolve round the Earth in the same period that the

Earth rotates on
will

its

axis,

perform their circuit united by a bar.

and the two bodies round the Sun as if
the future of the
also read the

Not only can we
past.

foresee

Earth-Moon System, but we can

According to Darwin's theory, the Earth, in the remote past, was probably rotating on its axis in a very short period, between three and
five

The Moon must then have been much nearer us than it is now, and was probably revolving round its primary in the same
hours.

period that the Earth took to rotate on

its axis.

The two

globes, then gaseous, must have been Had the revolving almost in actual contact. month been even a second shorter than the day,

the the

Moon must As Earth.

inevitably have fallen back on it was, the condition of affairs

could not endure.

The condition of the Moon

resembled that of an egg balanced on its point. The Moon must either recede from the Earth or
fall

back upon it. The solar tide here interfered, and caused the Moon to recede from its primary
until
miles.
it

reached

its

present distance of 239,000

The

fact that the

Earth and Moon were almost
were probably in

in contact suggests that they

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.
contact.

235

In other words, the Moon originally formed part of the Earth, which, in consequence
of
its

short - rotation period, and probably also owing to the interference of the solar tide, split into two portions, and the smaller of these now

forms the Moon.

It

is

likely that the

matter
the

now forming the Moon was detached from
Earth
raised
in separate particles.

Just as the tides

by the

Moon tend

to retard the motion

of the Earth, so the Earth tides raised in the

Moon have already done now rotates on its axis
tion of the Earth -Moon

their work.
in the

The Moon
it

same time as
is

revolves round the Earth.

Part of the evolu-

completed. that the rotation periods Schiaparelli's discovery of both Venus and Mercury coincide with their

system

times of revolution

is

distinctly confirmatory of

Darwin's theory. In his chapter on the " Evolution of Celestial
"

Systems

in his

book on The Tides/ Darwin
'

dis-

cusses the distribution of the satellites of the Solar

System. He says of the evolution of a planet "We have seen that rings should be shed from
the central nucleus

:

when the

contraction of the

nebula has induced a certain degree of augmentation of rotation. Now, if the rotation were
retarded by some external cause, the genesis of a ring might be retarded or entirely prevented."

236

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS

IN ASTRONOMY.

then remarks that probably the formation of the Moon was retarded, and in the case of

He

Mercury and Venus,
vented

solar

tidal

friction

pre-

satellite formation.

This explains

why

Venus have no satellites, the Mercury Earth only one, Mars two, while the exterior
and
planets have each several satellites. The theory of tidal friction was extended in

1892 to the explanation of the double stars by the American astronomer, See. See showed

by mathematical

calculation the effects of tidal

friction in shaping

the eccentric orbits of the

binary stars, the course of evolution being traced from double stars, revolving almost in contact,

which

spectroscope reveals, to the teleSee's researches have done much scopic doubles. to supplement those of Darwin, who considers

the

that there are two types of cosmical evolution, " " or lunar second the Laplacian, and the
type.

Lowell, in his

work on

*

The Solar System

'

(1903), adds six congruities to those remarked by Laplace and his successors. These are, "All

the

satellites
(so

turn
far as

the

same

face
;

to

their

primaries

we can judge)

Mercury,
;

and probably Venus, do the same to the Sun one law governs position and size in the Solar System and in all the satellite systems orbital
;

CELESTIAL EVOLUTION.

23*7

inclinations in the satellite systems increase with

distance

from the primary
tilt

show a greater
;

the outer planets of axis to orbit-plane with
;

increased distance from the

Sun

(so far as detect-

the inner planets show a similar relation." able) The fate of the average solar star is sketched out by Vogel's classification, and by any evoluIn the tionary hypothesis which we may adopt.

Though we cannot review with the mind's eye our past, we
words of Lowell
:

"

as

yet

can, to

We can with an extent, foresee our future. scientific confidence look forward to a time when
each of the bodies composing our Solar System
shall turn

the Sun.
of
its

an unchanging face in perpetuity to Each will then have reached the end

evolution set in the unchanging stare of death. Then the Sun itself will go out, becom-

ing a cold and

lifeless

mass

;

and

the
in

Solar

unseen, ghostlike, space, the resurrection of another cosmic awaiting only

System

will

circle

catastrophe." As to what this cosmic catastrophe will be, science gives no definite idea nor can astrono;

mers say with certainty whether the Universe will come to an end by the extinction of its
luminaries,
will

or whether

the

suns

and planets
;

be brought back to luminosity again but the human mind shrinks from the idea of a

238

A CENTURY'S PROGRESS IN ASTRONOMY.

dead Universe.

At

this point science has said

its last word, and must give place to religion. In our day we may repeat with deeper meaning the words of the Scottish astronomer,

Thomas Dick
its

"
:

Here imagination must drop
no
sits

into

wing, since it can penetrate the dominions of Him who
of

further

on the

Overwhelmed with a view of the magnificence of the Universe, and of the perfections of its Almighty Author, we can only fall prostrate in deep humility and exclaim, Great and marvellous are Thy works, " Lord God Almighty.'
Throne
Immensity.
'

INDEX.

Absolute parallax, 158.

Astronomer - Royal

Adams,

J. C., 78,

116, 117, 118,

119, 120, 140.

Adams, W., 205.
Aerolites, 147, 148, 149. Airy, Sir G. B., 27, 104, 117, 120. Aitken, R. G., 202. Alcyone (77 Tauri), 217.

of Scotland, 134, 155, 191 ; of England, 59, 117 ; of Ireland, 151, 156. Astronomy of the invisible, 203.

Aurigse (Nova), 191, 192, 195.

Auwers, A., 167, 188, 203.
Babinet, 230. Baily, F., 159.

Aldebaran
172.

(a Tauri), 151, 166,

170,
183,

Bakhuyzen, H. G.,
(/3

91.

Algol

Persei),

178,

182,

Ball, Sir R. S., 23, 34, 108, 141,

184, 193, 204. Al-Sufi, 180, 183. Altair (a Aquilse), 170. Anderson, T. D., 191, 192.

149, 156, 158, 230.

Barnard, E. PI, 19, 95, 107, 108,
110, 111, 113, 136, 191, 211. Beer, W., 68, 69, 90. Bellatrix (7 Orionis), 209. Belopolsky, A., 87, 110, 166, 185, 186, 204, 205. Berlin Observatory, 119, 120.
Bessel, F.

Andromeda

nebula, 180, 208.

Andromedse (7), 201. Andromedse (Nova), 180. Andromedid meteors, 142, 149. Angstrom, A. J., 50, 51.
Antares
(a Scorpii), 171.

Aquila, 195. Aquilee (??), 185, 186. Arago, F. J. D., 6, 11, 31, 37, 40, 118, 120, 129. Arcturus (a Bootis), 165, 170. Arequipa Observatory, 75. Argelander, F. W. A., 27, 159, 167, 178, 179, 180, 218. Argo Navis, 221.

152, 203.
172,

W., 24, 82, 116, 151, 153, 154, 159, 167, 202,

(a Orionis), 165, 171, 182, 187. Biela, W., 128. Biela's comet, 128, 129, 142, 143, 146, 149. Birmingham, J., 189. Bode, J. E., 97, 98, 152.

Betelgeux

Bode's Law, 97.

Argus

(TJ),

187, 188.

Armagh

Observatory, 206.

Boeddicker, 0., 77. Bond, G. P., 103, 109, 130, 136,
207.

Asteroids, 19, 62, 97-102.

240
Bond,

INDEX.
W.
0., 109, 112, 120.

'Bonn

Durchmusterung,'

159,

Cerulli, V., 86, 91, 94. Chacornac, 161.
Challis, J., 116, 119, 120. Chambers, G. F., 31.

160, 218.

Bonn Observatory,
Bootis

88, 97, 160.

(c), 30. Borisiak, 192. Boss, L., 168. Bouvard, A., 115, 116. Bradley, J., 159, 167. Bredikhine, T. A., 105, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135. Brewster, Sir D., 50, 101, 178. Brinkley, J., 151.

Chandler, S. C., 88, 89, 181, 184. Chladni, E., 138.

Chromosphere,

solar, 55, 56.
8,

Clark, A., 202. Clerke, Miss A. M., 3, 5,

12,

13, 15, 25, 26, 34, 42, 58, 75,

86, 92, 105, 109, 124, 125, 131, 132, 133, 140, 142, 169, 186, 187, 189.

Briinnow, F., 156. Bruno, G., 35.
Buffon, 103.

Clerk-Maxwell, J., 109, 110. Coggia's comet, 131, 132, 133.

Comet

families, 135.

Bunsen, R. W., 51.
Burchell, 188.

Comets, 24, 123-137, 141, 142,
143, 144, 146, 149, 152. A., 107, 209. Copeland, R., 134, 135, 190, 208. Cornu, A., 189. Corona Borealis, 188.

Burnham,

S.

W., 201, 202, 212.

Common, A.

Callandreau, 0., 136.
Callandrelli, 151.

Cambridge Observatory, 116.
Campbell, T. (Poet), 2. Campbell, W. W., 24, 107, 110,
166, 168, 205.
187, 191, 193, 204,

Corona, solar, 55, 57, 64. Coronse (Nova), 188, 189.
Crossley, E., 211. Crux, 221. Cygni (61), 152, 158. Cygni (Y), 184, 185. Cygni (Nova), 189, 190. Cygnus, 152, 189, 221.

Canals of Mars, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95. Cancri (C), 206. Cancri (S), 180. Canis Major, 188. ' Cape Durchmusterung,' 161, 162. Cape Observatory, 155, 157. Capella (a Auriga), 170, 176, 193,
205.

Damoiseau, 78. D'Arrest, H. L., 96,
212.

119,
56.

142,

Dartmouth Observatory,
L., 100.

Camera,

Darwin, Sir G. H., 233, 234, 235,
236.

Carpenter, J., 73. Carrington, R. C., 45, 46, 59.
Cassini, D., 21.

Cassiopeia, 221.

Dawes, W. R., 90, 117. De la Rue, W., 52, 75. Delaunay, C. E., 78, 79.

Castor (a Geminorum), 30, 200,
205.
Celoria, G.,

Dembowski, E., 201. Deneb (o Cygni), 165.

202, 218, 221, 223,

224.

Centauri (a), 155, 188, 225. Centaurus, 221.

W. F., 84, 85, 91, 95, 105, 111, 112, 144, 145, 146. Deslandres, H., 110. Dick, T., 85, 238.
Denning,
Disc-theory, 32, 36, 38, 39, 214, 218. DiVico, F., 85, 86, 170.

Cephei (S), 178, 182, 185, 186. Cepheus, 221.
Ceres, 19, 98, 101.

INDEX.
Doberck, W., 201.
Donati, G. B., 130, 131, 169. Donati's comet, 130, 133, 136.

241
lines, 48, 49, 50,

Fraunhofer

51,

169, 172. Frost, E. B., 205.
87,

Doppler, C., 57, 58. Doppler's Principle,

58, 59, 110, 165, 168, 203. Douglass, A. E., 92, 107. Draconis (\), 182.

Draper, H., 136, 172, 175. Dreyer, J. L. E., 206. Dunecht Observatory, 157.
Dune-r, N. C., 58, 59, 174, 175, 181, 184, 185, 201, 202, 233. Dunkin, E., 27, 167. Dunsink Observatory, 156.

Galactic poles, 35, 224. Galaxies, external, 32, 218, 225, 226. Galaxy, or Milky Way, 32, 36-42, 186, 211, 215, 216, 217, 219, 220, 221; 224, 225.
Galileo, 44, 107. Galle, J. G., 62, 142.

108, 109,

119,

Galloway, T., 167.

Gambart, 128.
Gauss, C. F., 27, 98, 167. Gautier, A., 45. Gemini, 11, 194. Geminorum (Nova), 194.

Earth, 76, 97, 103, 104, 147, 148, 149, 153, 154, 156, 236. Earth-Moon system, 234, 235. Easton, C., 221.
Eclipses, lunar, 77. Eclipses, solar, 56, 57, 80, 81.

Geminorum
George
Gill,

(0, 180, 182, 185.
157,

III., 11, 23.

Edinburgh
195.

(Royal)

Observatory,

Electrical repulsion theory, 126. Elger, T. G., 74. Elkin, W. L., 157.

Sir D., 62, 136, 155, 160, 161, 221. Glasgow Observatory, 216. Goodricke, J., 178, 183.

Encke,

J.

F.,

30,

61,

119, 127,

128, 216.

Encke's comet, 127, 128, 137.

Gore, J. E., 24, 38, 179, 181, 182, 183, 192, 202, 215, 220, 225, 226. Gould, B. A., 135, 160, 163, 180, 220, 221.

Erman, 140.
Eros, 62, 101. Ertborn, 85. Euler, L., 88, 89. Evolution, planetary,

Grant, E,., 216. Gravitation, law

of, 29.

228,

229,

Greenwich Observatory, 59, 117. Grimmler, 192. Groombridge (1830), 156, 162,
223.

230

231

Evolution, stellar, 33, 34, 231, 232.

Groombridge (1618), 156.
Gruithuisen, 87.

Faye, H., 60, 129, 230. Faye's comet, 129, 137. Ferguson, J., 9, 178.

Hale, G. E., 55, 57, 233.
Hall, A., 96, 111, 112, 156, 190. Hall, Maxwell, 121. Halley, E., 138. Halley's comet, 123, 130, 152. Halm, J., 195, 196. Hansen, P. A., 61, 78, 79. Hansky, A., 57. Harding, K. L., 99, 153, 220. Hartwig, E., 190.

Flammarion,
147, 226.
164,

C., 87, 91, 95, 121,

187, 195, 201, 202,

Flamsteed, J., 5. Fleming, Mrs, 192, 195.
Forbes, G., 122. Fraunhofer, J. 47, 151, 153, 169.
48,

49,

50,

Q

242
Harvard Observatory,
191.
174,

INDEX.
175,

Juvisy Observatory, 164.
Kaestner, 65, 124.
Kaiser, F., 90.

Hasselberg, B., 148, 190. Heis, E., 179, 220. Heliometer, 153, 157.

Helium

stars, 174.

Kant, I., 34, 35, 101, 103. Kapteyn, J. C., 27, 158, 161, 162,
168, 221, 222. Keeler, J. E., 95, 114, 185, 208, 211, 212, 213, 231. Kelvin, Lord, 229.

Helmholtz, H., 61, 229. Hencke, K. L., 99. Henderson, T., 154, 155. Henry, Paul and Prosper,
114, 210. Hercules, 167. Herculis (a), 182. Herculis (A), 26.

100,

Kempf,
Kepler,

P., 181.

Herschel, William, 1-42, 43, 60,
63, 65, 69, 74, 77, 85, 90, 99, 103, 109, 111, 112, 115, 123, 150, 162, 167, 176, 196, 197,

J., 5, 35, 137. Kirchoff, G. R., 61, 169, 172. Kirkwood, D., 140, 230. Klein, H. J., 73. Klinkerfues, E., 142, 202.

Konkoly, N., 175. Kiistner, F., 88.
Lalande, 23, 152. Lambert, J. H., 34.

207, 214, 216, 218, 224, 227. Herschel, A., 144. Herschel, Caroline, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13,
14, 30, 35, 127, 198.

Lament,

J., 44.

Herschel, Sir J., 4, 17, 27, 30, 37, 50, 112, 113, 120, 130, 144, 167, 187, 188, 197, 198, 199, 200, 214, 215.

Langley, S. P., 77. Laplace, P. S., 20, 33, 34, 77, 109,
Lassell,

Hind,
188.

J.

R., 99, 129,

135, 180,

148, 152, 195, 227, 228, 229. W., 112, 115, 117, 120. Latitude, variation of, 88, 89.

Hoek, 135.
Holden, E.

Hough,

S., 191. G., 105.

Leipzig Observatory, 173. Leonid meteors, 139, 140, 142. Leonis (/3), 183.
Lescarbault, 80. Le Verrier, U. J. J., 61, 80, 81, 118, 119, 120, 142, 164.

Houzeau, J. C., 220. Huggins, Lady, 172. Huggins, Sir W., 54, 57, 74, 95,
106, 114, 131, 136, 165, 170, 171, 172, 173, 189, 190, 191, 193, 195, 207, 208, 212, 231. Humboldt, A., 44, 139. Hussey, W. J., 116, 201.
Innes, R., 188.

Ley den Observatory,
Librae
(S),

91.

180.

Lick Observatory, 93, 107, 166,
168, 191, 213. Light, extinction of, 40, 215, 216, 224, 225. Lindsay, Lord, 157.

Linn^
58,

71, 72.
J. N., 52, 53, 54, 55,

Intra-Mercurial planet, 80, 81.
Italian spectroscopists, 54, 55.

Lockyer, Sir
149,

Janssen, P. J. C., 52, 53, 54, 57, 59, 112, 209. Juno, 19, 99, 101. Jupiter, 20, 75, 97, 101-108, 112, 114, 121, 122, 135, 144, 146.

191, 193, 208, 209, 231, 232. Lockyer, W. J. S., 210.

174,

195,

Loewy, M., 75. Lohrmann, W. G.,

68, 71.

Lohse, W. 0., 88, 105. Loomis, 188.

INDEX.
Lowell, P., 83, 84, 86, 87, 91, 92, 93, 94, 122, 236, 237. Lowell Observatory, 92, 94, 106,
114.

243

Nasmyth, J., 73, 103. Nebulae, 30, 31, 207-213, 228. Nebular Hypothesis, 33, 195, 227, 228, 229, 230, 233.
Neison (Nevill), E., 73.
Neisten, 86, 105.

Lund Observatory,
Lupus, 221. Luther, R., 100. Lyra, 221.

59.

Neptune, 120, 121, 135, 229, 230. Newall, H. F., 205.

Lyra

(/3),

178, 182, 185.

Newcomb,

Lyrid meteors, 122.
Maclaurin, C., 9. Maclear, Sir T., 155. Madler, J. H., 27, 68, 69, 71, 96, 104, 202, 203, 216, 217, 218. Magellanic clouds, 219.

S., 27, 64, 78, 89, 94, 162, 168, 220, 222, 223, 224, 232. Newton, H. A., 140, 141.

Newton,

Sir I., 2, 17, 29, 77.

Nichol, J. P., 31, 207. Nordvig, L., 192.
Olbers, H. W. M., 19, 20, 69, 98, 99, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 139, 148, 152, 153. Olbers' comet, 125. Olmsted, D., 138, 207. Ophiuchi (a), 183. Orion, 221.

Magnetism, 44, 60. Mars, 18, 19, 90-97, 101, 144, 236. Maunder, E. W., 59, 60, 94, 95,
134, 145, 166, 224. Mascari, A., 86. Mayer, C., 164. Mayer, J. R., 229. Mazapil meteorite, 149. M^chain, 127. Mee, A., 68. Melloni, 76. Mercury, 18, 80, 81-84, 97, 236. Messier, C., 30. Meteorites, 147, 148, 149, 229, 231. 'Meteoritic Hypothesis,' 231, 232. Meteors, 138-149.

Orion nebula, 10, 33, 207, 208,
209, 213.

Orion stars, 174, 193, 209, 232.
Orionis (/c), 209. Orionis (??), 209. Orionis (0), 209. Orionis (U), 181, 182, 186, 187.
Palisa, J., 100. Pallas, 19, 99, 101. Parallax, solar, 61, 62, 63, 101. Parallax, stellar, 150-158, 190. Paris Congresses, 161.

Meudon Observatory,

59.

Milan Observatory, 82, 202, 224. Milky Way. See Galaxy.
Miller,

W.

A., 50, 172.

Mira

Ceti, 11, 182, 186, 187. Mitchel, 0. M., 31.

Mizar (CUrsie Majoris), 204.
Moller, A., 129.

Moon,

the, 10, 24, 65-79, 90, 95, 148, 228. Moscow Observatory, 132.

Paris Observatory, 78, 118, 171. Perrine, C. D., 81, 108, 194. Perrine's comet, 136. Perrotin, H., 86, 91, 100, 114. Peck, W., 162. Persei (Nova), 192, 193, 194, 195. Perseid meteors, 122, 141. Perseus, 192, 221.
Peters, C. H. F., 100. Peters, C. A. F., 142, 153, 155, 202. Photography, astronomical, 54, 56,57, 59,75, 81,94, 108, 113,

Mouchez, A., 161.
Miiller, G., 175, 181.

Munich Observatory,
Napoleon, 67, 127.

44, 224.

244
136, 158, 160, 192, 193, 194, 210, 211, 212. Photometry, 176, Piazzi, G., 19, 20, Pickering, E. C.,

INDEX.
161, 172, 175, 203, 208, 209,
177.
98, 150.

Rosse, third Earl of, 141, 156, 207, 208, 218. Rosse, fourth Earl of, 77. Rotation of the Sun, 58, 59 ; of the planets, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86,

174, 175, 176, 177, 181, 182, 183, 185, 193, 194, 203, 204, 220, 221. Pickering, W. H., 75, 76, 81, 91, 92, 93, 107, 113, 209. Plana, G., 78, 79. Pleiades, 124, 210, 217. Pogson, N. R., 142, 180. Pole Star, 205.

Rowland, H. A.,

87, 104, 111, 112. 52. Rutherfurd, L. M., 75, 169.

Sabine, Sir E., 44. Safford, T. H., 202. Santini, G., 159. Savary, R, 30, 199.
Satellites, 96, 107, 108, 112, 113,

Pollux, 165, 170. Pons, J. L., 127. Pont^coulant, 79.

Potsdam Observatory,
176.

46,

173,

115, 120, Saturn, 20, 113, 121, Schaeberle, 203.

121, 236. 21, 22, 97, 103, 108135.
J.

M., 93, 107, 191,

Pritchard, C., 158, 177. Proctor, R. A., 4, 20, 38, 41, 90, 91, 104, 148, 163, 164, 218, 219, 220, 231. Procyon (a Canis Minor is), 151, 203.

Scheiner, C., 44. Scheiner, J., 166, 174, 176. Schiaparelli, G. V., 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 92, 114, 141, 143, 149, 201, 220, 224, 231,

235
Schjellerup, H., 180. Schmidt, J. F. J., 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 104, 179, 180, 189.

Prominences,
64.

solar,

52,

53,

55,

Puiseux, P., 75. Pulkowa Observatory, 200.
Quetelet, A., 139.

Schonfeld, E., 160, 179, 180, 188, 189.
Schroter, J. H., 16, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 74, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 87, 97, 99, 153.

Radiant

points, 144, 145, 146.

meteoric,

139,

Schwabe,
55.

S.

H., 18, 43, 44, 46,

Ranyard, A. C., 106, 146. Red spot on Jupiter, 105, 106. Regulus (o Leonis), 164, 165.
Relative parallax, 157. Roseau, Photospherique, 59. Resisting medium, 128. Respighi, L., 55.

Schwassman, A., 100.
Secchi, A., 52, 54, 55, 60, 72, 90, 114, 141, 170, 171, 173. Secchi's types of stellar spectra,

Reversing layer, 56, 57.
Ricco, A., 87, 105. Rigel (ft Orionis), 165, 209. Ritchey, G., 194. Roberts, A. W., 181.

Roberts, L, 209, 210.

Roche, E., 109.

170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 189, 232. See, T. J. J., 201, 202, 236. Seeliger, H., 110, 195, 196, 202, 206, 224, 225. Serviss, G. P., 158. Sirius (a Canis Majoris), 151, 170, 173, 188, 202, 225. Slipher, V. M., 106, 114, 204.

Roman

College Observatory, 85.

Sime, J., 27.

INDEX.
Sola, J. C., 112.

245

Solar cluster, 221, 222. Solar system, motion of, 26, 27,
167, 168.

Tacchini, P., 55, 86, 87. Taurus, 217, 221. Tempel, E., 210.

Tennyson, 96.
Tidal friction, 79, 87, 233, 234, 235, 236. Tisserand, F. F., 146. Todd, D. P., 122.

South, Sir J., 198. Spectroscopic binaries, 203, 204, 205. Spencer, H., 218. Spica (a Virginis), 204.
Sparer, F. W. G., 45, 46, 54, 59. Star-catalogues, 159, 160, 161, 162, Star-clusters, 30, 31, 32, 206, 210. Star-drift, 164. Star-gauging, 36, 40, 41, 224. Stars, distance of, 150-158. Stars, distribution of, 35, 39, 40, 198-214.
Stars,

Trans-Neptunian planet, 121, 122.
Trouvelot, E., 86, 87.

Tschermak, 148.
Tulse Hill Observatory, 171. Turner, H. H., 194, 224. Twining, A. C., 139.

Upsala Observatory, 59. Uranometria Argentina, 160. Uranus, 11, 20, 22, 23, 97, 113,
114, 230.
115, 118, 121, 135, 141,

double,

28,

29,

30,

197-

206.
Stars, gaseous, 171, 174. Stars, proper 164, 165.

Ursa Major, 162, 164.
162, 163,

motion

of,

Ursse Majoris Ursse Majoris

(5),
(|),

182.

199.

Stars, radial motion of, 165, 166. Stars, temporary, 156, 182, 188196. Stars, triple

Venus, 18, 84-88, 97, 235, 236. Venus, transits of, 61, 62, 87.

and multiple, 206.

Vega

(a Lyr^e), 151, 165,

170, 172,

Stars, variable, 177-188. Stellar spectra, 169-176, 187, 189,

173.

Very, F.

W.,

77.

190, 191, 193, 194. Stellar universe, 35-42, 214, 215226. Stereo-comparator, 100, 101. Stokes, Sir G., 50. Stone, E. J., 157, 160.

Stroobant, P., 88. Struve, F. G. W., 3, 37, 38, 40, 42, 128, 151, 153, 200, 214, 215, 216, 218. Struve, H., 201.
Struve, L., 27, 163, 167. Struve, 0. W., 27, 110, 115, 120, 153, 156, 163, 200, 201.

Vesta, 19, 99, 101, 102. Vogel, H. C., 84, 88, 106, 114, 131, 148, 174, 175, 183, 184, 191, 193, 195, 204, 233, 237. Vulcan, 81.

95, 102, 166, 173, 185, 190,

209, 232,

Washington Observatory, 96, 223. Watson, J. C., 81, 100. Webb, T. W., 72, 73, 104. Weinek, L., 75.
Weiss, E., 142. Well's comet, 134. Whewell, W., 318. Williams, A. S., 110, 193. Wilson, A., 16. Winlock, J., 177. Winnecke, F. A. T., 131. Witt, K. G., 101.

Stumpe, O., 167.
Sun, 15, 16, 17, 40, 43-64, 65, 80, 81, 105, 125, 128, 170, 222, 228, 229, 230, 237.
Swift, L., 81. Swift's comet, 136.

246

INDEX.
Yerkes Observatory, 55, 111, 202. Young, C. A., 54, 56, 57, 58, 60,
87, 114, 190.

Wolf, Max, 100, 181, 191, 194,
211.

Wolf, R., 44, 45, 188. Wolf and Rayet, 171.

Wolf-Rayet
Wollaston,

stars, 171, 174.

W.

H., 48.

Wright, T., 34, 110.
Yale Observatory, 157.

Zach, F. X., 97, 98, 152. Zantedeschi, 77. Zenger, 85, 88.
Zollner, J. C. F., 54, 58, 60, 84, 103, 132, 232.

CORRIGENDA.
P. P. P. P.
30,
1.

36,
61,

1. 1. 1. 1. 1.

63,

P. 100,

" " orbits." " objects read " unable " read " able." 13, for " 8".371 " read 8".571." 17, for " bases " read " 21, for gases." " Schwussmann " read " Schwassmann." 5,

for

16, for

P. 167,
P. 184,

28, for
11, for

1.
1.

"Strumpe" read "Stumpe." " star- variables " read "variable

stars."

P. 199,

23, for

"2102" read "1202."

THE END.

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